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02 October 2009

Lead-in to a Big Thought

As some of you may know, I attempt to read the New York Times religiously. And by that, I mean that I read the New York Times op-ed page on a regular basis. But, I also mean that I attempt to read with the skeptical eye of healthy religiosity. That is to say, I attempt to use a discerning eye and a critical mind while consuming Brooks, Krugman, Kristoff, Friedman, Dowd, Collins and others each day. Such forays into intellectual stimulation has led me to other places to gather news. It has also increased my exposure to views on the world. I'll spare you the hubris of suggesting my own view has expanded -- I hope it has, but hey, you never know.

In that vein, Paul Krugman, I've discovered, has a blog, "Conscience of a Liberal." I'm not sure if he created it before or after the publication of his book of the same name. A book, I should mention, which is not particularly worth taking an extended period to read. But I digress. Saw this on his blog today and thought it was worth sharing. I've bolded the part which caught my attention.

24/7 at the Ig Nobels

Limited blogging today — I’m on my way to Ann Arbor to fest Alan Deardorff’s schrift. But last night I participated in the Ig Nobels, where I gave one of the 24/7 lectures. These are 24 seconds of impenetrable jargon, followed by a 7-word explanation of your field.

24:

Given decentralized constrained optimization by maximizing agents with well-defined convex objective functions and/or convex production functions, engaging in exchange and production with free disposal, leads, in the absence of externalities, market power, and other distortions, there exists an equilibrium characterized by Pareto optimality.

7:

Greedy people, competing, make the world go round.



If that's all economics has become, I think we've got a problem. But, of course, you all know that. One might need to reside under a rock to not realize the problems one would face as an American, a Catholic, a human being at this point and time.

So, the big thought for today: look up the words disinterested and uninterested. (Tip o' the hat for the previous week's "On Language" for noting the distinction.) Do you think our vision of God fits either of these words?

If one believes that God is neither neutral nor bored with humanity and creation, it begs the question of why we find ourselves alternately disinterested and uninterested with God?

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