RE: [OPE] one of the great inventions of the 20th Century?

Date: Sat Mar 08 2008 - 18:09:50 EST

> I would have to agree with my uncle that WD-40 is probably the greatest invention of the 20th century. 
Hi Gary:
It's worthwhile to note (given a recent thread that we had) that WD-40
was initially developed for a military application: its original purpose  
was to protect the exterior of the Atlas missile from corrosion. 
If your Uncle likes WD-40, he is almost certainly a fan of duct tape -
yet another product originally developed for a military purpose: it 
was used in WWII on ammunition cases.
> But why all this skepticism about the National Income & Product Accounts, which were in fact a pretty nifty and useful achievement? 
Nifty? Perhaps. But Mr. Potato Head and the slinky were nifty as well.
Useful?  Sure - to some degree.
What I object to is the - absurd! - claim that it was one of the most
important inventions of the 20th Century. This claim - made by Nordhaus
and Samuelson, and uncritically supported by Tobin - reeks of arrogance
and exaggerated self-importance on the part of mainstream economists. 
It's worthwhile in this connection to note the content of Charlie's post: 
Samuelson had no qualms about poking fun at the "exaggerated claims"
of the Physiocrats but then makes his own exaggerated claims.
In solidarity, Jerry

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