Friday, May 26, 2017

"I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means"

Economist Paul Romer has been involved in a Deep State battle of his own, trying to get World Bank staff reports to limit the use of the word "and" to 2.6% of the text. (Seriously.) And, because it hurt the feelings of the poorly-communicating economists, he's been removed from managerial duties. (Double seriously.)

But here's why this has become the topic of a blog post here at A Random Stranger: because Romer wrote a blog post wherein he says "I slaughter kittens in my office."

Am I the only person who reads that and thinks of this meme?

Talk about an inelegant choice of words! Now who's the one in need of better communication skills, Paul?

Seriously, though: Deirdre McCloskey has written much about economics becoming intentionally inaccessible to preserve the mysticism of what economists do. While Robert Lucas famously said he didn't really understand something until he could write it in a model, someone else (sometimes said to be Albert Einstein) has said you don't really know anything until you can explain it to your grandmother. On this Lucas/Einstein spectrum, McCloskey and Romer would side with Einstein. The World Bank underlings would side with Lucas. (Shocker.)

In the old system (pre-1990s?), the underlings would dislike their boss and do things his way. But now, they got their boss reassigned.

This is related to other thoughts I have had this week about the Trump administration and leaks to the media, but I woke up late today (double-overtime victory for the Penguins last night!), so I'm trying to get back on schedule, which means keeping this blog post to one short idea. And that idea, evidently, is that Paul Romer might be sending us a cryptic message that he masturbates in his office.

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