Thinking Citizen Blog — Today’s Topic: Orion it! If You Can, if You Dare….


Thinking Citizen Blog — Tuesday is Economics, Finance, and Business Day

Today’s Topic: Orion it! If You Can, if You Dare….

So what is the gist of economics? What should every 3rd grader know? 5th grader? 8th grader? 12th grader? Do they already in fact know it? They just don’t know the technical lingo. They know the basic facts. It’s all kind of obvious. Sort of. Or not? Let’s see if you know it. Take out a blank piece of paper and write it down in as simple a language as possible. Seriously. Try it. Before you read the rest of this post. Tests are great. Aren’t they? The best way to find out what you really know. Or don’t. To Orion something is to distill it to its essence. To take Occam’s razor to it. To divert that river through the Augean stables of accumulated muck. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

THE GIST OF ECONOMICS IS THE GIST OF HUMAN NATURE (“the paradox of the invisible hand”)

1. We are all selfish. The technical term is “the invisible hand.” The religious term is “sin.” We are all “sinners.” In the hands of a very angry god according to the likes of Puritan minister, Jonathan Edwards. Every kid knows this. if you want something, the tendency is to grab it and say “it’s mine.” If someone else has something you don’t have, life is not fair and you cry bloody murder. This is the story of Adam and Eve. This is the story of Cain and Abel.

2. Mathematical translation: the demand curve slopes downward to the right (from the viewer’s perspective) — the lower the price, the higher the demand. Remember that the the y-axis is price, the x-axis is quantity. The supply curve slopes upward to the right.

3. Policy translation: tax it get less of it, subsidize it get more of it.

NB: Antiseptic textbook translations: a.) “we are all rational utility maximizers,” b.) “incentives matter.”

HALLELUJAH FOR BUSINESS, FINANCE, FREE MARKETS AND CAPITALISM (“what evil money, evil corporations and financial institutions really do”)

1. It is, get this, in our own base, selfish interest to come up with smaller, faster, cheaper, better of reducing the suffering of others!

2. Why? The better the job we do at that the more friends we have, the more love we get and the more friends and love we get the more power and stuff we get.

3. If, and this is a big if, rewards are proportional to the service we provide to make the lives of others better (in their own judgment, best measured by their willingness to shell out their own hard earned money).

NB: Before you wax poetic over the evils of the big bad fossil fuel companies and the big bad drug companies, do the math on how many lives those industries have saved over the last 200 years. Marvel and behold!

HALLELUJAH FOR FACTS, AND THE GREAT SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT CALLED HISTORY (see Rosling video below, just four minutes, worth an entire university library)

1. It was one thing to be a Marxist in 1848 when over the prior 20 years life expectancy for a child in Liverpool had fallen from 56 to 28.

2. It is another to be one in 2022 after Stalin, Mao, Castro, Chavez, Pol Pot…..

3. After the economic miracles of Singapore, South Korea, Japan, China post 1989, etc. etc. etc.

NB: Why has capitalism, time and time again, turned luxuries into necessities? Why has communism, time and time again, turned necessities into luxuries? Because capitalism rewards service to others. Because communism rewards rhetoric. Communism is the easier sell. Capitalism gets a bad rap but delivers the goods. Denial is bad. We are all selfish, equally. But paradox of paradoxes it is in our selfish interest to do good. And to do a better job at it every single day because if we don’t, a competitor will.

TO BE CONTINUED: next week’s post will map the rant above to the seven stars of Orion, but if you come up with one before then, please feel free to share….

Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes — The Joy of Stats — BBC Four


PDF with headlines — Google Drive

Two special attachments below:

#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20

YOUR TURN — Please share:

a.) the coolest thing you learned this week related to business, economics, finance.

b.) the coolest thing you learned in your life related to business, economics, finance.

c.) anything at all related to business, economics, finance.

d.) anything at all