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Cheques and balances by star economists

Why should footballers and politicians and film stars hog the news on TV? With budget week ahead, this is the right time for economists to become celebrities and get into the limelight. Manas Chakravarty imagines what a typical broadcast should be like.

columns Updated: Jul 05, 2014 22:35 IST
Budget,Indian Budget,Indian economy

Why should footballers and politicians and film stars hog the news on TV? With budget week ahead, this is the right time for economists to become celebrities and get into the limelight. Here’s what a typical broadcast should be like:

Anchor: The entire nation waits with bated breath for news about the fiscal deficit. Will it be a cool 4%, or a terrible 4.2%? Here’s our exclusive interview with economist Dr Doom.

Reporter: Sir, what are your views about the fiscal deficit?

Dr Doom: It’s a vile, evil thing and the finance minister should slash it immediately. Hacking too would be fine.

Anchor: Breaking news, you saw it on this channel first, we need to hack the deficit, not trim it. Moving on, the police have apprehended a small-time economist trying to blow up the Planning Commission.

Reporter: Why did you want to demolish the Planning Commission?

Small-time economist: I was inspired by the talk of big bang reforms and wanted to do some creative destruction. Long live Joseph Schumpeter.

Anchor: In a sensational paper at a Moscow seminar, Rosa Luxemburgski presented a new feminist labour theory of value, positing that real value was created only by women in labour. She received widespread support from pregnant ladies, who have long complained of unpaid labour.
We’ll be back with you after these inspiring messages.

First Ad: Bowels clogged up? Constipated? No better remedy than ‘Fedease’, endorsed by the head of the US Federal Reserve.

Janet Yellen: I find this new quantitative easing technique gives excellent results.

Second ad: We bring you a great educational product for baby economists. This little EconBarbie doll says ‘Supply’, if you press her tummy once and ‘Demand’ if you press it twice. Yours at a market-clearing price.

Anchor: Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman was seen yesterday dating several supermodels. Here’s what one of them said:

Supermodel: I love the way Paul goes on about constrained optimisation, minimising the energy function and maximising rewards.

Anchor: In other modelling news, a competition is being held tomorrow where contestants will present their latest macroeconomic models.

Meanwhile, sources tell us that Greg Mankiw will be transferred from Harvard to the Delhi School of Economics for an undisclosed astronomical sum. We spoke to the Dean at Delhi School.

Dean: Mankiw will be our star player in the research paper writing league this winter and in the random walk competition.

Anchor: Archaeologists are very excited about the first finding of Homo Economicus at a dig in Africa. The skeleton, found clutching a piece of stone with the words ‘Caeteris Paribus’ carved on it, probably perished during a period of global disequilibrium, say experts.
Superstitious local economists say the place is haunted by ‘invisibles’ from an ancient Balance of Payments.

In sports news, these are pictures of ‘Free Rider’, Larry Summers’ new racehorse at Ascot. Also, the next bout between Professor Amartya Sen and current champion Jagdish Bhagwati will be held in a few months’ time at Cambridge. That’s all for now. Don’t forget to listen to the debate on prime time tonight on imperfect competition in the World Cup.

(Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint. The views expressed by the author are personal.)

First Published: Jul 05, 2014 22:27 IST