Nobel Prize for 'Dark Art'

Fortune's Stanley Bing tees off on economists and their coveted award

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AUTHOR: Stanley Bing, Fortune Magazine Columnist, in The Huffington Post

LENGTH: 537 words
THESIS: Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson, the new Nobel laureates for economics, don't make a lot of sense--sort of like their profession in general.
WHAT THE ECONOMICS PRIZE OUGHT TO BE CALLED: "The Nobel Prize in Inscrutability"
SYNONYMS FOR 'ECONOMISTS': "a testy and opinionated bunch," "practitioners of the dark art," "the white-socks-and-Birkenstocks cognoscenti"
BING'S CARICATURE OF AN ECONOMIST: Stanford-living studier of eggplant costs who likes to eat cheese steaks and talks about "subjective perceptual issues"

One thing is clear: The ability to generate a large body of work on matters whose importance are shrouded in mystery is a key attribute of all world-class economists, and Ostrom and Williamson are clearly in the vanguard here.

... "I don't know why I didn't win," said Max Farbush, who lives near Stanford and often visists the neighborhood around Wharton for its cheese steaks. "I'm as incomprehensible as they are." When pressed, Mr. Farbush revealed that his work centers on the relationship of markets to their produce. "There's no rational reason that eggplants should cost as much as they do," he stated. "It's clear that subjective perceptual issues enter into such transactions."

Speculation has already begun as to the 2010 winner, and a short list is now making the e-mail rounds. It's too early to pick a favorite, of course. But while professionals like Mr. Farbush are clearly being considered, the smart money remains on game changers who are right now shaping the world recovery, which places one name at the top of any prospective list. When called to respond to their rumors, the White House declined to offer a comment.
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