Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Two Jokes About Economists

There are two jokes about economists that I have heard repeatedly.  If you are at all interested in economics, then you should probably have heard these two jokes.  They do come in different versions.


Macroeconomists are wrong about things in general.

Miroeconomists are wrong about things in particular.


A chemist, an economist, and a physicist are stuck on an island with a can of food, but no can opener.

The chemist says, "We should heat the can over a fire, and when it hits X degrees it will open."

The physicist says, "We should use a pointy rock and use y pounds of force to open the can.

The economist says, "Assume a can opener."

(Economists cannot perform actual experiments like other scientists can.  We cannot control for all of the variables, if we even knew what they all were.  And without a control in an experiment, the experiment will be useless.  Therefore, economists need to assume things in order to come to conclusions.  One of the first things that you learn in economics is "ceteris paribus," which means: every thing else being equal.  This is required for economics, but is unacceptable for other sciences.)

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