Friday, November 25, 2016

A funny joke

There's a funny joke you can play with the fortunes you get out of fortune cookies.  Just add, "... in bed" to the end.  "You will have good luck tonight" becomes, "You will have good luck tonight in bed" and so on.  The suffix changes the nature of the statement, typically to something amusing and occasionally to something outrageous.

You can play a similar game with passages talking about the America's constitution, democracy, and political economy.  Just add, "... with President Trump" to the end.

Here's an example from Acemoglu and Robinson's "Why Nations Fail:"
Secure property rights, the law, public services, and the freedom to contract and exchange all rely on the state, the institution with the coercive capacity to impose order, prevent theft and fraud, and enforce contracts between private parties.  To function well, society also needs other public services: roads and a transport network so that goods can be transported, a public infrastructure so that economic activity can flourish, and some type of basic regulation to prevent fraud and malfeasance.  Though many of these public services can be provided by markets and private citizens, the degree of coordination necessary to do so on a large scale often eludes all but a central authority.  The state is thus inexorably intertwined with economic institutions.
 It's a deep and complex thought on what society needs, and how government and private interests can provide it.  Now read it again but add "... with President Trump" to the end.  The statement becomes a sick parody of itself, a mockery of economics and politics.

I wonder how academics will keep a straight face while they work under Trump.

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