What Links Here? (1 articles…)


Where to begin.

Economists. LOL.

Consider first this joke which does its best to sum up the problem:

A physicist, a chemist, and an economist are stranded on a desert island with no implements and a single can of beans. The physicist says, "Let's smash the can open with a rock." The chemist says, "Let's build a fire and heat the can first." The economist says, "Assume we have a can opener."

You've got the basic layout? Scientist 1 and 2, real solutions, Economist, none.

Now -- here is something tell. The Wikipedia article about economists mis-tells this joke in sevral ways (or did at the moment of writing) and each of these ways is more telling than the article itself.

The Wikipedia Economist article author-group, describes the joke as being about "a can of food" (commoditizing the target down to complete in-consequentiality, a classic economist foible is ever there was one.) and then come the significant blunders within the joke's telling.

Wikipedia begins the quoted joke with:

There is a story that has been going around about...

Now this isn't needed. Any half decent editor would snip that right out.

I had an aunty once who would start a joke like this:

Oh, oh oh. I heard a joke. I heard it from George. You remember George? Yes, well he's got cancer now. But anyway, George told me this, or maybe it was Rupert. Rupert might've been the one who said it. Anyway. It was either George or Rupert or maybe Beryl who lost the hip.

This is probably the way an Economist would believe they were expected to start the joke, even if they didn't know George, Rupert or Beryl, as they have no way to assess if this part of the joke's text is less valuable than any other.

Tellingly the Wikipedia article doesn't show the actual solutions provided by the physicist and chemist, it simply glosses over those, saying:

The physicist and the chemist each devised an ingenious mechanism for getting the can open

Which is very telling. And then, most alarmingly, continues with:

It derives from a joke which dates to at least 1970 and possibly originated with British economists. EMPHASIS ADDED TO HIGHLIGHT THE OBVIOUS LIE

As if to simply accept as an established fact that Economists could:

  1. Have a healthy sense of humour concerning their own short-sightedness. Are you kidding?
  2. Readily devise, as part of a joke, a practical and allegedly "ingenious" method for opening a can of beans.
  3. Readily devise, as part of a joke, TWO such methods.

Which entirely negates the point of the joke in the first place.

Anyone who can write that joke in the first place is not simply an economist.

Why doesn't the Benevolent Czar of Artificial Intelligence sends its crystal stare, to look with unblinking eye, and rewrite that dud page.


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