Within the last century, quite a number of lost ancient religious texts have been found. Sadly, few of these, even when of an eschatological nature, have turned their attention in any detail to the work of economists. Especially lacking has been a consideration of the history of economic thought. Happily, this oversight can now be put partly right. I believe this could be the first finding of its kind ever published in the economics blogosphere. The discovery was certainly fortuitous, hidden as it was behind a dusty edition of Milton Friedman’s A Monetary History of the United States, which had somehow found its way into the lost books section of the local library. If it had not been for my insistence that the library clerk mount a step ladder to remove it from the area, the lost Book of Noah’s Wife might have fallen into the hands of the monetarists.
Most of the time, this blog concerns itself with economics and, more particularly, a theory of money. There is a reason for this, and also a story behind it. Believe it or not (and, of course, you shouldn’t believe it even for a second), in its original concept this blog was to be a self-help website focusing on Personal Health & Fitness. Quite simply, this seemed to be the kind of topic that would drive traffic and rake in the advertising dollars. It was only after this initial plan fell through that a little thinking outside the box became necessary and attention turned to writing about money instead of actually making any. Rather than trace in embarrassing detail how the failure came about, the matter can be explained by way of example. A representative writing sample from the period is reproduced below, but not before a brief recounting of its grueling path to non-publication.
Regular readers will be acutely aware that I have made many bold predictions (no link found) concerning the precise timing of the end of the world and will continue to do so repeatedly into the future. Specific dates have been set, and then re-set, for the rapture, appearance of Antichrist, great tribulation, Armageddon and second coming. Despite these efforts, which have been made without expectation of heavenly reward, only modest dollar returns, I now find myself under attack. Sadly, there are those who question my motives for all the date setting. Some even allege there are readers who have been swindled out of life savings. Although this kind of attack comes with the territory for a prophet, and indeed I welcome the persecution, it nonetheless seems necessary to address readers’ concerns and shortcomings. For now, time constraints preclude anything more detailed than a summary statement. A forthcoming book will provide the full scoop. April 1st 2016 is its forecast date of publication and $49.95 its likely recommended retail price. Both predictions remain subject to subsequent revision, which you all should be used to by now.
Critics frequently charge (no link found) that while we on the Left are prolific in identifying reasons things must change, our prowess in actually bringing about change is less impressive. I thought it might be of theoretical interest, or at least of idle curiosity, to reflect on the means of effecting change. Let’s sit ourselves down with a cup of coffee and conduct a thought experiment concerning what might be done. Dare we contemplate something more than change? Something as grandiose as social transformation? Yes, I say. Why not? This could prove to be an intriguing exercise indeed.
You may not have realized it at the time, but that youthful decision to enroll in a doctoral program paved the way for what now threatens to be a lifetime of teaching courses at $2-3k a pop, tutoring out of a car (for quick escape from parking inspectors), grading papers in the campus library (until moved along), feeding at soup kitchens (so long as appropriately attired), fraternizing in parks (and other open spaces) and sleeping on footpaths or church steps when city law permits (which is occasionally). All that, and more, while kowtowing to your tenured seniors, the social products of a bygone era who are paid ten times as much as you and are certainly ten times more important.
The political barriers to getting humane economic policy through Government House or Senate or Wall Street or whatever it’s called in your country appear to be formidable. In confronting this reality, Mike Norman may have come up with a winning strategy when he notes that Americans have no problem with a single payer in the case of defense, so why not health care? At the very least, this observation could have legs with the bloodthirstier electorates of the world. The applications seem endless.
Posting on or surfing the internet is dangerous. Readers should be aware that they are closely monitored at all times by CIA plants posing, in some instances, as regular commenters. Financed with off-budget Federal Reserve money printing, they are aided by intelligent bots, developed using secret technology received from the greys. The goal is a new world order under the rulership of Obama, soon to be confirmed Antichrist. Opponents can expect mind control through chemtrails and, if caught, their guns to be seized by foreign troops and deposited in a special closet designated for the purpose in a FEMA concentration camp. With a trio of sixes branded on their hands, they will be compelled to worship the president each Sunday – rain, hail or shine – even when they have better things to do. This is what makes the present post such a risky endeavor.
I’ve been thinking about it. Work, being a core part of life, is meant to be interesting, engaging, and meaningful. Otherwise, why are we wasting our time on this planet? Yet, for many, work is not living up to its name. Work of the good kind is less and less on offer in the jobs being created. I’ve been reflecting on possible reasons why, and decided it’s really simple. The problem is not the jobs. It’s us. Most humans are simply not the kind of people a boss would want to hire.
Cheer up. Things could be worse. We could be living in the Eurozone. Oh wait. Some of us do live there. Wonder how that austerity’s been working out …
Expressions of anti-establishment sentiment among the poor, the disenfranchised, and the educated are generally expected by the authorities, but signs of broadly based middle-class agitation are taken more seriously. Rumor has it that after each election, wherever it is held in the world, suspicious ballot papers are kept aside by the secret services for further scrutiny in the ongoing fight against open-mindedness, independent inquiry, and critical thinking, more popularly known as the ‘War on Terror’. In this way, grassroots radicalism, antisocial behavior, and even moderate disquiet in the privacy of one’s home can hopefully be foiled. The ongoing commitment to austerity in many nations has opened up pockets of discontent, including but not confined to the expression of youthful exuberance on YouTube and satirical social commentary in the edgier comedy clubs. Every now and then, documentation of one of the more extreme instances of middle-class fervor leaks out. Today, sadly, is one of those days.