The iPad. I remember dreaming about tools like this. I never expected them to be appendages of gigantic, electricity-chewing server farms watched by the secret police, though, or imagined them being assembled by slave labor in Chinese factories. Since I was a weird kid, who somehow managed to read a bit of Orwell and Marx between Star Trek episodes, I probably should have.
Pope Francis would do well to reflect on what happened the last time a frustrated figurehead attempted to impose glasnost and perestroika on a moribund institution. Once he succeeds in driving all the money changers from the temple, he may find that they were the only ones holding it up.
When I first published the Layman’s Guide, I omitted any reference to economists as such, mostly because it seemed to me at the time that not even God himself, let alone an untutored blogger, could make anything either succinct or coherent out of their work. Since then, I’ve read more widely, if not more deeply, and, by George, I think I’ve finally got it.
Economists in General: The health of the economy does not depend on your having any.
Some Economists in Particular: And a damned good thing it is, too, which you would realize if only you could grasp the concepts involved.
Today Paul Krugman has discoveredthat, gasp, technological unemployment is really real! And it’s really, finally here! And it really, really will result in a permanent transfer of wealth from labor to capital, no matter how many college degrees laborers go into debt to acquire! (and, coincidentally, of course, this also seems to imply that Marx might actually have been a bit smarter than we thought.)
I’m being unfair, or at least uncharitable, to the penitent Dr. Krugman, who’s a nice guy, and would be a nice guy even if he weren’t an economist. Still, this is an amazingly belated observation on his part. I thought that these economist guys all knew this stuff, but were afraid to mention it for fear of devaluing their Keynesian cheerleading. Horrifying to think that they didn’t actually know it at all.