it’s like pulling teeth.

I had an appointment to get my teeth cleaned this morning. Imagine my surprise when after checking in and updating my paperwork the receptionist handed me a $10 gas card “to thank me for showing up for my appointment today.” Apparently people are so scared of going to the dentist, the office is offering incentives now.*

I was actually a little disappointed when my name got called to go back. I found watching people’s reactions to the receptionist with her cards way more exciting than the gas card itself. Continue reading “it’s like pulling teeth.”

how to diminish the influence of economics

1. Expend energy railing against the Patriot Employer Act, co-sponsored by Barack Obama. What’s to hate about it? From the Economist‘s Free Exchange blog (h/t Mark Thoma):

There is much to dislike in the bill. Essentially, it offers employers a tax credit, worth one percent of taxable income, in exchange for adherence to a set of economic limitations. Among them are: a minimum wage, minimum standards on retirement and health plans, and protections for workers and headquarters based in America.

Yeah, that Obama sure is History’s Worst Monster for wanting to give corporations a modest tax incentive to do that sort of stuff. (They do need to hire a Frank Luntz type to come up with a better short title for the bill, though.)

A couple of European academics go much further in calling this package “reactionary, populist, xenophobic and just plain silly.” It perhaps goes without saying that, were Willem Buiter and Anne Sibert somehow to lose their sinecures, they wouldn’t have to pray to the gods of health that they not get too sick for a while. Or perhaps they’re just part of a movement, which I’ve found curious, of neoliberal Euroeconomists who seem want to show their pals at Chicago how tough they are. Or, as Charlie Stross put down New Labour:

And lo, in the thrusting entrepreneurial climate of the early nineties a new government came into power with the remit to bring about the triumph of true socialism by privatising the post office and air traffic control systems…

And it might be prudent to verify that the U.S. doesn’t get thrusted by its entrepreneurial climate before frothing at the mouth about the evils of populism.

goodbye sociology

I had a very interesting experience yesterday. Very interesting. Perhaps life-changing. You see a couple of weeks ago, I received a call from someone in the computer science department informing me they had a visitor coming to campus from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory who wanted to meet with me. “Ah,” thought I, “finally my 250 line C++ Kaplan-Meier Product-Limit Estimator program is going to get the recognition it deserves.”* Actually, I had no idea what this guy could want, but I said yes to the appointment, out of both courtesy and curiosity. Continue reading “goodbye sociology”


In a thread on orgtheory, the moribund blog “left2right” was brought up, which was apparently an effort by Rock Stars of the Academic Left to have a blog about reaching out to the right. In general, blogs fail when they are premised on the idea of writing for people who’ve adamantly no interest in reading what you have to say, especially when posed in unidirectional “myWisdom2yourIgnorance” terms.

Anyway, Omar then likens it to the idea of a blog called “soc2econ,” which may be the Single Most Hilarous Joke Academic Blog Concept Ever. soc2econ: The blog by sociologists who want to reach out and impart their wisdom to economists eager for enlightenment. I literally had to hold the sides of my head to keep it from exploding as all these possible jokes rushed into my brain. If I had time and graphic design wherewithal, I would be putting this together for April Fool’s Day. If I do sometime, y’all have to play along. Everybody has to pretend to be extremely earnest.

I still believe that nothing points to a difference between the disciplines of sociology and economics quite as incisively as Continue reading “soc2econ!”