Heard at the Wharton School.
Man walking along a road in the countryside comes across a shepherd and a huge flock of sheep. Tells the shepherd, "I will bet you $100 against one of your sheep that I can tell you the exact number in this flock." The shepherd thinks it over; it's a big flock so he takes the bet. "973," says the man. The shepherd is astonished, because that is exactly right. Says "OK, I'm a man of my word, take an animal." Man picks one up and begins to walk away.
"Wait," cries the shepherd, "Let me have a chance to get even. Double or nothing that I can guess your exact occupation." Man says sure. "You are an economist for a government think tank," says the shepherd. "Amazing!" responds the man, "You are exactly right! But tell me, how did you deduce that?"
"Well," says the shepherd, "put down my dog and I will tell you."
A mathematician, an accountant and an economist apply for the same job.
The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks "What do two plus two equal?" The mathematician replies "Four." The interviewer asks "Four, exactly?" The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says "Yes, four, exactly."
Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The accountant says "On average, four - give or take ten percent, but on average, four."
Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says, "What do you want it to equal"?
Three econometricians went out hunting, and came across a large deer. The first econometrician fired, but missed, by a meter to the left. The second econometrician fired, but also missed, by a meter to the right. The third econometrician didn't fire, but shouted in triumph, "We got it! We got it!"
A mathematician, a theoretical economist, and an econometrician are asked to find a black cat (who doesn't really exist) in a closed room with the lights off. The mathematician gets crazy trying to find a black cat that doesn't exist inside the darkened room and ends up in a psychiatric hospital. The theoretical economist is unable to catch the black cat that doesn't exist inside the darkened room, but exits the room proudly proclaiming that he can construct a model to describe all his movements with extreme accuracy. The econometrician walks securely into the darkened room, spends one hour looking for the black cat that doesn't exits and shouts from inside the room that he has caught it by the neck."
SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The state takes one and gives it to someone
COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The State takes both of them and gives you the milk.
FASCISM: You have two cows. The State takes both of them and sells you the milk.
MILITARY DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The State takes both of them and shoots you.
BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. The state takes both of them, accidentally kills one and spills the milk in the sewer.
CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.
REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to decide who gets the milk.
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: The government promises to give you two cows if you vote for it. After the election, the president is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair "Cowgate".
ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors kill you and take the cows.
A civil engineer, a chemist and an economist are traveling in the countryside. Weary, they stop at a small country inn. "I only have two rooms, so one of you will have to sleep in the barn," the innkeeper says. The civil engineer volunteers to sleep in the barn, goes outside, and the others go to bed. In a short time they're awakened by a knock. It's the engineer, who says, "There's a cow in that barn. I'm a Hindu, and it would offend my beliefs to sleep next to a sacred animal." The chemist says that, OK, he'll sleep in the barn. The others go back to bed, but soon are awakened by another knock. It's the chemist who says, "There's a pig in that barn. I'm Jewish, and cannot sleep next to an unclean animal." So the economist is sent to the barn. It's getting late, the others are very tired and soon fall asleep, Bu they're awakened by an even louder knocking. They open the door and are surprised by what they see: It's the cow and the pig!
Three economists and three mathematicians were going for a trip by train.
Before the journey, the mathematicians bought 3 tickets but economists only
bought one. The mathematicians were glad their stupid colleagues were going to
pay a fine. However, when the conductor was approaching their compartment, all
three economists went to the nearest toilet. The conductor, noticing that
somebody was in the toilet, knocked on the door. In reply he saw a hand with one
ticket. He checked it and the economists saved 2/3 of the ticket price.
The next day, the mathematicians decided to use the same strategy- they bought only one ticket, but economists did not buy tickets at all! When the mathematicians saw the conductor, they hid in the toilet, and when they heard knocking they handed in the ticket. They did not get it back.
Why? The economists took it and went to the other toilet.
NATURAL RATE OF UNEMPLOYMENT
Newlan's Truism: An "acceptable" level of unemployment means that the government economist to whom it is acceptable still has a job.
TOP TEN ECONOMIST VALENTINES
10. YOU RAISE MY INTEREST RATE THIRTY BASIS POINTS WITHOUT A CORRESPONDING
DROP OFF IN CONSUMER ENTHUSIASM
9. DESPITE A DECADE OF INFLATION, I STILL DIG YOUR SUPPLY CURVE
8. WHAT DO YOU SAY WE RE-MEASURE OUR CROSS-ELASTICITY
7. YOU BRING THE BUTTER, I'LL BRING THE GUN
6. LET'S RAISE HOUSING STARTS TOGETHER
5. FURTHER STIMULUS COULD RESULT IN UNCONTROLLED EXPANSION
4. TELL ME WHETHER MY EXPECTATIONS ARE RATIONAL
3. LET'S ASSUME A RITZY HOTEL ROOM AND A BOTTLE OF DOM
2. YOU STOKE THE ANIMAL SPIRITS OF MY MARKET
1. A LOAF OF BREAD, A JUG OF WINE, AND THOU BESIDE ME WATCHING RUKEYSER
When Albert Einstein died, he met three New Zealanders in the queue outside the Pearly Gates. To pass the time, he asked what were their IQs. The first replied 190. "Wonderful," exclaimed Einstein. "We can discuss the contribution made by Ernest Rutherford to atomic physics and my theory of general relativity". The second answered 150. "Good," said Einstein. "I look forward to discussing the role of New Zealand's nuclear-free legislation in the quest for world peace". The third New Zealander mumbled 50. Einstein paused, and then asked, "So what is your forecast for the budget deficit next year?" (Adapted from Economist June 13th 1992, p. 71).
Q: How many conservative economists does it take to change a light bulb?
A1: None. If the government would just leave it alone, it would screw itself in.
A2: None, because, look! It's getting brighter! It's definitely getting brighter!
A3: None, they're all waiting for the unseen hand of the market to correct the lighting disequilibrium.
(The above light bulb jokes were mostly stolen from an article in The Wharton Journal, Feb. 21, 1994, by Selena Maranjian, who undoubtedly pilfered the humor from someone else.)
Q: How many central bank economists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Just one -- he holds the light bulb and the whole earth revolves around him.
It's not easy being an economist. How would you like to go through life pretending you knew what M1 was all about?
Economics is the painful elaboration of the obvious.
Q. What's the difference between an economist and a befuddled old man with Alzheimer's?
A. The economist is the one with the calculator.
An economist is someone who doesn't know what he's talking about - and make you feel it's your fault.
Bill and Boris are taking a break from a long summit, Boris says to Bill,
-Bill, you know, I have a big problem I don't know what to do about. I have a
hundred bodyguards and one of them is a traitor. I don't know which one. -Not a
big deal Boris, I'm stuck with a hundred economists I have to listen to all the
time before any policy decision, and only one tells the truth but it's never the
During the waning days of communism in the Soviet Union, an inspector was encharged with visiting local poultry farmers and inquiring about the amount of feed they were giving their chickens. Central planning was still in effect and each farmer was allocated 15 Rubles to spend on chicken feed.
One farmer very honestly answered that he spent five of the allocated 15 Rubles on chicken feed. The inspector took this to mean that the thieving farmer pocketed the other ten and promptly had him imprisoned.
Hearing of this through the rumor mill, the next farmer down the road insisted that he spent all 15 Rubles on food for the chickens. The inspector saw this as a case of budget padding and the farmer as a wasteful opportunist. He too was imprisoned.
The third farmer heard of both episodes and was more prepared for the inspector's arrival.
"How many of the 15 Rubles do you actually spend on chicken feed," asked the inspector.
Like a true nascent capitalist, the farmer threw his hands in the air and answered, "hey! I give 15 Rubles to the chickens. They can eat whatever they want!"
Experienced economist and not so experienced economist are walking down the road. They come across a pile of horse manure lying on the asphalt.
Experienced economist: "If you eat it I'll give you $20,000!"
Not so experienced economist runs his optimization problem and figures out he's better off eating it so he does and collects money.
Continuing along the same road they come across another pile of horse manure.
Not so experienced economist: "Now, if YOU eat this Iíll give YOU $20,000."
After evaluating the proposal experienced economist eats it and collects the money.
They go on. The not so experienced economist starts thinking: "Listen, we both have the same amount of money we had before, but we both ate horse manure. I don't see us being better off."
The experienced economist replies "Well, that's true, but you overlooked the fact that we've been just involved in $40,000 of trade."
A woman hears from her doctor that she has only half a year to live. The doctor advises her to marry an economist and to live in South Dakota. The woman asks, "will this cure my illness"? Answer of the doctor: "No, but the half year will seem pretty long".
Q: Why did God create economists?
A: In order to make weather forecasters look good.
An old joke applied to economists.
One night a policeman saw a macroeconomist looking for something buy a light pole. He asked him is had had lost something there. The economist said, "I lost my keys over in the alley." The policeman asked him why he was looking by the light pole. The economist responded, "it's a lot easier to look over here."
This tale is said to be told by John Kenneth Galbraith on himself. As a boy he lived on a farm in Canada. On the adjoining farm, lived a girl he was fond of. One day as they sat together on the top rail of the cattle pen they watched a bull servicing a cow. Galbraith turned to the girl, with what he hoped was a suggestive look, saying, "That looks like it would be fun." She replied, "Well.... Sheís your cow."
INTEREST GROUP ECONOMIST VIRUS - Divides your hard disk into hundreds of
little units, each of which does practically nothing, but all of which claim to
be the most important part of the computer.
ECONOMETRICIAN VIRUS - Sixty percent of the PCs infected will lose 38 percent of their data 14 percent of the time (plus or minus a 3.5 percent margin of
POLITICAL THINK TANK ECONOMIST VIRUS - Doesn't do anything, but you can't get rid of it until next election.
GOVERNMENT ECONOMIST VIRUS - nothing works on your system, but all your diagnostic software says everything is just fine.
MARXIAN ECONOMIST VIRUS - Helps your computer shut down whenever it wants to.
SOVIET ECONOMIST VIRUS - Crashes your computer, but denies it ever happened.
MAINSTREAM ECONOMIST VIRUS - It claims it feels threatened by the other files on your PC and erases then in "self-defense."
CENTRAL BANK ECONOMIST VIRUS - Makes sure that it's bigger than any other file.
MULTINATIONAL CORPORATION ECONOMIST VIRUS - Deletes all monetary files, but keeps smiling and sending messages about how the economy is going to get better.
SUPPLY SIDE ECONOMIST VIRUS - Puts your computer to sleep for four years. When your computer wakes up, you're trillion more dollars in debt.
NEW ECONOMY VIRUS - Also known as the "Tricky Dick Virus." You can wipe it out, but it always makes a comeback.
ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMIST VIRUS - Before allowing you to delete any file, it first asks you if you've considered the alternatives.
Value of human capital
Engineers and scientists will never make as much money as business executives. Now a rigorous mathematical proof that explains why this is true:
Postulate 1: Knowledge is Power.
Postulate 2: Time is Money.
As every engineer knows,
---------- = Power
Since Knowledge = Power, and Time =Money, we have
--------- = Knowledge
Solving for Money, we get:
----------- = Money
Thus, as Knowledge approaches zero, Money approaches infinity regardless of
the Work done.
Conclusion: The Less you Know, the more money you Make.
Three leading economists took a small plane to the wilderness in northern Canada to hunt moose over the weekend. The last thing the pilot said was, remember this is a very small plane and you will only be able to bring ONE moose back.
But of course, they killed one each and come Sunday, they talked the pilot into letting them bring all three dead moose onboard. So just after takeoff, the plane stalled and crashed. In the wreckage, one of the economists woke up, looked around and said. Where the hell are we. Oh, just about a hundred yards east of the place there we crashed last year.
Three guys decide to play a round of golf: a priest, a psychologist, and an economist.
They get behind a *very* slow two-some, who, despite a caddy, are taking all day to line up their shots and four-putting every green, and so on. By the 8th hole, the three men are complaining loudly about the slow play ahead and swearing a blue streak, and so on. The priest says, "Holy Mary, I pray that they should take some lessons before they play again." The psychologist says, "I swear there are people that like to play golf slowly." The economist says, "I really didn't expect to spend this much time playing a round of golf."
By the 9th hole, they have had it with slow play, so the psychologist goes to the caddy and demands that they be allowed to play through. The caddy says O.K., but then explains that the two golfers are blind, that both are retired firemen who lost their eyesight saving people in a fire, and that explains their slow play, and would they please not swear and complain so loud.
The priest is mortified; he says, "Here I am a man of the cloth and I've been swearing at the slow play of two blind men." The psychologist is also mortified; he says, "Here I am a man trained to help others with their problems and I've been complaining about the slow play of two blind men."
The economist ponders the situation-finally he goes back to the caddy and says, "Listen, the next time could they play at night."
A physicist, a chemist and an economist are stranded on an island, with nothing to eat. A can of soup washes ashore. The physicist says, "Lets smash the can open with a rock." The chemist says, "Letís build a fire and heat the can first." The economist says, "Lets assume that we have a can-opener..."
Why God Never Received Tenure at the University
1. He had only one major publication.
2. And it was in Hebrew.
3. And it had no cited references.
4. And it wasn't published in a refereed journal or even submitted for peer review.
5. And some even doubt he wrote it himself.
6. It may be true that he created the world but what has he done since?
7. His cooperative efforts have been quite limited.
8. The scientific community has had a very rough time trying to replicate his results.
9. He never applied to the Ethics Board for permission to use human subjects.
10. When one experiment went awry, he tried to cover it up by drowning the subjects.
11. When subjects didn't behave as predicted, he often punished them, or just deleted them from the sample.
12. He rarely came to class, just told students to read the book.
13. He had his son teach the class.
14. He expelled his first two students for learning.
15. Although there were only ten requirements, most students failed his tests.
16. His office hours were infrequent and usually held on a mountaintop.