[OPE] The Economy, or is that Moses's Shoe?

From: michael perelman <michael@ecst.csuchico.edu>
Date: Mon Apr 20 2009 - 09:26:03 EDT

Hundreds of thousands of economists around the world pour over their
subject. A good number attempt to reduce the economy to scientific
laws, which can be expressed as mathematical theorems. Laws are passed
and people are taxed, subsidized or even punished in order to promote
the economy.

Just what is this economy? Before dismissing this question as na´ve or
impertinent, consider an almost unintelligible sentence from John Selden
(1584-1654), a polymath, whom the poet, Milton, described as "the chief
of learned men reputed in this land." Selden wrote: "We commonly are at
What's the Reason of it? before we are sure of the Thing." The two
short sentences that follow makes Selden's meaning clear: "sure of the
Thing. Twas an excellent question of my Lady Connon, when Sir Robert
Coggon was magnifying of a shoe, which was Moses's or Noah's, and
wondering at the strange shape and fashion of it: But, Mr Cotton, says
she, are you shure it is a shoe?"

read more:

Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA
530 898 5321
fax 530 898 5901
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Received on Mon Apr 20 09:28:08 2009

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