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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Space Filler

It seems both readers of my blog are wondering where I have vanished to. Well last week I was here, now I am here, and next week I will be here. As you can tell, I'm enjoying myself too much to blog.

But duty calls (sigh). So here's one more of those two-minute quickies to bide you over till I get back.

Mr. Sagnik "CS" Nandy has said in his blog that he has no clue what I (or any other social science person for that matter) do. So here's a little heads-up.

Basically there are three kinds of economists in this world. They can be classified as follows based on their modus operandi.

Type 1 - Blue Whales

1. Are struck by deep insights about why the way we look at the world is all wrong.
2. Formulate a model for how the world should really be.
3. Win Nobel Prize (unless they die prematurely)
4. Are worshipped for ever after.

Type 2 - Salmon

1. Observe phenomena in the world.
2. Formulate models which attempt to explain said phenomena.
3. Use lots of math and jerryrig the model so it fits reality.
4. Test model using doctored data
5. Claim success until someone comes up with an alternative explanation.
6. Are looked at with regard in the academic community but unheard of otherwise.

Type 3 - Plankton

1. Read paper by Salmon.
2. Tweak one assumption.
3. Use obscene amounts of math and every Greek letter possible, to show either that a) Nothing changes or b) Everything changes.
4. Die in menial obscurity.

So what can you do, plankton - asks Mr. Nandy. Well not very much really. You see, plankton float in their part of the ocean and have no idea what's going on in other parts of the world. As for me, I'm a budding Applied Game Theorist. What that means is that I cannot answer the following questions.

1. What will India's GDP be next year?
2. What was India's GDP last year?
3. What's a GDP?
4. How long is a year?
5. How will the stock market behave?
6. Which stocks should you invest in?
7. Which stocks do I invest in?
8. How do credit card companies make money?
9. Why does Citibank insist my credit history is poor?
10. Will there be more jobs outsourced to India?
11. Will there be more jobs for Indians?
12. Will there be a job for me?
13. Will there be a purpose for me to serve on this Earth?

Actually, stop there. I should point out that Game Theorists have answered a number of meaningful questions that have puzzled people for centuries. Some discoveries by those whose footsteps I aim to follow.

1. Marriages are more likely to fail if the partners are jealous.
2. The current rain-rule in cricket matches sucks.
3. A woman is more likely to fake an orgasm if she's in love with her partner.
4. If you like a girl, never let her know.
5. Richer men will end up with hotter wives.
6. Democracy won't work except in exceptional circumstances.
7. Though sex is fun, its not always a good idea to do it. (This is what I am reading now)

Hmmm... and hmmmm.

So - in a nutshell, my line of work involves using lots and lots of complicated equations to prove stuff everybody over the age of 5 knows anyway.

Is it any wonder I blog so much?

PS (i) I have no idea why this post vanished for a day. I think it had something to do with my not republishing after adding the new links.

(ii) For Samit - This gentleman has expressed a great deal of interest in the equilibrium properties of duck-gang-rape. He spent a great deal of time at the Northwestern lagoon observing this phenomenon and then explained it to an awe-struck audience (including myself). If you want, I can explain to you why it is an inferior Nash for male ducks to indulge in gangbanging.