Economics as humour

Jokes are very common  among native English speakers but can be a bit difficult for those not brought up in the culture. Telling a joke and then trying to explain it rather spoils the point of it; never-the-less, and following on from my piece “money as comedy” I will try.

It goes like this. “If all the economists in the world were laid end to end they wouldn’t reach a conclusion”. If you understand, that’s great and I hope you find it amusing. If not, you need more lessons! Basically it is predicated upon the belief that no two economists agree about economics, something of a generalisation, but based upon the great number of economic theories that exist, none of which seem to work in the long term.

Being a simple sole myself I rather support the ideas of the economist John Maynard Keynes and his proposition, proposed following the  great depression of the 1930’s, that the world adopt a new reserve currency which he called the Bancor. Effectively this meant that there would be a currency made up of a basket of national currencies and commodities, (such as gold). Instead of this and following the economic victory they won in the second world war, the US dollar took the role, a role which seemed to have worked fine until the US inflation rate accelerated due to the Vietnam War. When European government complained they were famously told by John Connally, the  US Secretary of State for the Treasury, “It may be our currency, but it’s your problem”, which strikes me as somewhat arrogant, but who am I to judge.

This “Bancor” idea keeps on popping up, latterly in Russia, prior to that in China but it seems to me that as long as people (mostly Americans) still think that their national currency actually has some real value, its chances of actually happening are remote.

“Predicated upon” may be new to you. For clarification I give a dictionary definition here:-

(Predicate something on/upon) found or base something on: the theory of structure on which later chemistry was predicated.


One thought on “Economics as humour”

  1. I tried a joke on some students yesterday, whilst reviewing “to be used to”.
    One of my examples was: “I’ve lived in France for more than 10 years now, so I’m used to driving on the right side of the road. But by right, I don’t mean correct!”
    It took a few seconds to sink in, and produced more groans than laughter.

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