Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Economist's Oath (I)

The Economist's Oath (though it may vary, 'The Oath' takes the following, or similar form):
"As an economist I promise never to reveal the secret of The Illusion to a non-economist, unless that one swears to uphold the Economist's Oath in turn. I promise never to perform The Illusion for any non-economists without first practicing the effect until I can perform it well enough to maintain The Illusion of Economics."
Upon getting their PhD, economists must repeat the secret oath above. It's similar to the Hippocratic Oath which medical doctors have to abide by, but (1) economists need this oath to stay employed, and (2) they must also must learn a silly handshake.

Why? Because (1) there's only a single simple concept underlying all of economics that keeps economists from becoming milkmen or sociologists, and (2) Adam Smith (the founder of modern economics) was a genius at making up silly handshakes (he couldn't earn much from inventing new handshakes, so he started modern economics instead).

Of course this won't come as a surprise to those non-economists who keep tabs on the field, as economists have an illustrious history of intentionally plunging economies into disaster so they can be assured of research grants for years to come.

For example the boys at the IMF and World Bank are lauded by economists the world over for their work during the Asian financial crisis, whereas the old heads at LTCM made a complete cock-up trying to sink the world economy. Economists rarely even speak to the LTCM guys at conferences now, and there was even talk of stripping them of their Nobel Laureates, but the consensus was, however reckless, they were really ballsy.

Obviously, it's quite a dangerous undertaking revealing a secret theory of this magnitude (FYI the boys at the IMF make the Opus Dei look like a bunch of Mother Theresas [or a Bunch of Michael E. Porters if you prefer]). Rumour has it that they tried to do Milton Friedman in on numerous occasions, because he was fed up with the lies and wanted to become a tax accountant instead.

So what is the secret theory which underlies all of the relevant parts of economics? Tune in for part two!


Denica said...

geez john this is a really entertaining piece of writing! couldnt hold my smile :)

johnorford said...

Thx Denica - U'r much more geekier than I imagined!! :)

Denica said...

so now im the geeky one? haha i think the composer of this post's the one who should get all the credit, john. lol.

mukuge said...

you got me curious here, I'm looking forward to read part 2! :D

Anonymous said...

U've got to be kidding. There's such an oath?? I cant recall my friends repeated such a thing.

Sander Wagner said...

Oh yes I had to say that oath when I got accepted to grad school. Was in Catalan though... So I couldn't understand a word. Thanks for explaining what I was actually saying :)