My lecture was a complete success, but the audience was a failure.
Human nature as we know it?
Oliver Williamson's theory of transaction costs is build upon the behavioral assumption of opportunism.'Self-interest seeking with guile' (lying, stealing, cheating, and moresubtle forms of deceit) are an essential part of "human nature as we knowit". He doesn't assume that most people are opportunistic most of the time,but "that some people are opportunistic some of the time andthat it is very difficult to sort those who are opportunistic from thosewho are not". He believes that introspection supports his view, and thatall of Skakespeare's tragedies and comedies support it. And this is theproof: "The alternative to opportunism is saintliness, and since we are notprepared to embrace that, then opportunism is something we have to come toterms with" [Oliver E. Williamson, Interview in Swedberg's Economics and Sociology. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press 1999, p.126]. It's not too far away from the logic of the scholastic priests in the Middle Ages: "the alternative for our religious believe is godlessness, and since we are notprepared to embrace that, then religion is something we have to accept as an essential part of human nature as we know it." Amen!
It's not true that all history is bunk, and we can be pretty sure that not all social science is junk. But there is a 'science without a sense', a junk science. Steve Milloy created a the Junk Science Home Page: 'All the junk that's fit to debunk'. A page that focuses on junk science issues with special emphasis on developments in the public health research arena. The Junkman concentrates on serious issues - in a light, humorous manner. In the junkyard you'll find the 'Junk Science Hall of Shame', you can look at the 'Junk Science Pennant Race', study a 'Roster of Junk Scientists', and more. Editor: Steven J. Milloy (Cato Institute, SUES).
What happens when a sociologist dies?
The American economist Paul Krugman quoted an Indian-born collegue who had a very special vision on reincarnation. When an economist dies, he said, two things can happen. When you've been a good, virtuous economist you will be rewarded for this in the next live: you are allowed to return as an physicist. When you've been an evil, wicked economist, you are reborn as a sociologist. This might be true -- although we can never falsify such a statement. Krugman commented that it is just a question of 'difficulty of the subject': "Economics is 'harder than physics, luckily it is not quite as hard as sociology" [Krugman, Pedding Prosperity 1994:xi]. This also might be true, and also hard to prove.
But what happens when a sociologists dies? If you've been a good, creative sociologist you will certainly be permitted to return as a sociologist next time. And what if you've been a bad, unproductive sociologist? You will burn in hell forever, surrounded by all evil economists. But the hardest thing to do -- even for the most brilliant sociologist -- is to prove these kind of hereafter statements. They are junk statements, and that's why we may leave them in abeyance in the category of funny science.
What happens if an economist applies?
If it moves, it's biology
If it stinks, it's chemistry
If it doesn't work, it's physics
If it doesn't apply, it's economics
[Found somewhere on the net by Stefan Svallfors]
Some people think that economists don't have a sense of humor. Check out if they are right, and visit Jokes about economists and economy (compiled by Pasi KuoppamĂˇ;ki, Finland). Here you can read something like this:
An economist is someone who doesn't know what he's talking about - and make you feel it's your fault.
I asked an economist for her phone number .... and she gave me an estimate.
An economist was asked about the meaning of life. He replied: It depends on the parameter values.
'Economic man' never gets a hang-over, if he doesn't decide that the advantages of acquiring it exceed the draw-backs.
A physist, a chemist and an economist are stranded on an island, with nothing to eat. A can of soup washes ashore. The physist says, "Lets smash the can open with a rock." The chemist says, "Lets build a fire and heat the can first." The economist says, "Lets assume that we have a can-opener..."
Economists don't answer to questions others make because they know what the answer is. They answer because they are asked.
If an economist and an IRS agent were both drowning and you could only save one of them, would you go to lunch or read the paper?
And this far-over-the-edge last one: How can you tell when an economist is lying? His lips are moving.
That's too sad for a happy ending. So let's try this one as a final:
For three years, the young assistant professor took his vacations at a country inn. He had an affair with the innkeeper's daughter. Looking forward to an exciting few days, he dragged his suitcase up the stairs of the inn, then stopped short. There sat his lover with an infant on her lap! "Why didn't you write when you learned you were pregnant?" he cried. "I would have rushed up here, we could have gotten married, and the child would have my name!" "Well," she said, "when my folks found out about my condition, we sat up all night talkin' and talkin' and we finally decided it would be better to have a bastard in the family than an economist."
More fun? Go to:
"Work is the curse of the drinking classes" [Oscar Wilde].
"If work really would be so wonderful, then the rich would have claimed it for themselves" [Mark Twain].
"Love may be the answer, but what's the question?" [Albert Benschop]
"I'm trying to think, but nothing happens." (But how does that looks?)
"Wherever I am, there's always Pooh,
There's always Pooh and Me" [A. A. Milne]
"We can predict how some one will vote or want to be kissed after only the briefest discussion concerning dentistry or the location ofthe bus stop" [Alain de Botton, Kiss & Tell. London: Macmillan 1995, p. 33]
Sorry, no Sex Allowed
On love and rape
"Brutalizing a man could be a great sin, because a man who has become a brute can never love. And sins against love are the greatest sins, and deserve the greatest punishments. Theft is a crime, often a sin; but it only operates against money or goods. Murder is a crime, often a sin; but the degree of the sin depends upon the value of the life, which might not be worth living, or which might have brought pain and misery to others. But love is always good. And sins against love are always the worst, because love is the only ... the only especially human thing we have. So, rape is the greatest sin, greater than murder, because it is a sin against love. And I don't only mean violent rape. In fact, violent rape is perhaps the least sinful kind of rape because the perpretrator is not always responsible for his acts. But the subtler kinds of rape are great sins. The businessman who makes getting a job dependent on having sex with him, he is a rapist. The man who takes a plain girl out for dinner and an expensive evening because he knows she will feel obliged to make love with him, he is a rapist. The young man who finds a girl starving for affection and who talks of love in order to get sex, he is a rapist. All these crimes against love. And without love ... my God, without love ...!"
[Trevanian (1977) The Main. New York: Jove. p.42]
Don't say it...
There are many things that you can or may be even should say during sex. But there seem to be at least 101 things not to say during sex.