Lessons to be learned when an economics professor is asked to leave a flight after doing equations

Mathematical economics are best avoided if you, and the wider world, would prefer a quiet life

Sunday 08 May 2016 13:22
Comments
Why not just watch Ant-Man instead?
Why not just watch Ant-Man instead?

Certainly he was weird. The Italian economist, Guido Menzio, presently associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, was doing some typically mathematical economic theorising on an American Airlines flight. Odd, indeed, when he could have been getting stuck in to Ant-Man, Batkid, Jurassic World or any of the other excellent inflight entertainment instead. Or maybe a bit of Bernard Cornwell. Or getting quietly sloshed on miniature Jack Daniels. Even odder, so his neighbour felt, when he made it plain he wasn't interested in small talk and the notations he was scribbling resembled Arabic script.

And so, in a paranoid world, she reported him to the crew, and the hapless serious-minded economist was chucked off the plane. The lesson is plain. Mathematical economics - which, with their spurious certainties and tendency to rubbish-in, rubbish-out predictions, did so much to create the great banking crisis - are best avoided if you, and the wider world, would prefer a quiet life.

Economic history is a much safer bet for a flight, as part of an economist's education; it can also help you fall into a restful snooze, which even the most fretful neighbouring passenger couldn't mistake for terrorist intent.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in