Saturday, May 15, 2004

The Moderate Fringe

Thanks to Brad DeLong for leading me to this eloquent piece from Paul Musgrave about the progressive agenda and the plight of the rural U.S.

The tragedy of rural American life has gone mainly unmentioned, even as some of us have waxed rhapsodic over, say, the exportation of McDonald's to Asia. Why are we more concerned with the loss of "authentic" cultures in Thailand or Indonesia than with those of rural America?

Having interned in a declining rural area of western Massachusetts in grad school, I've become keenly attuned to the haunting silence of drowning rural cities. Paul hits the nail on the head.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Dismal Science?

Mirriam-Webster's Online Dictionary describes the etymology of "economy" as:
Middle French 'yconomie', from Medieval Latin 'oeconomia', from Greek 'oikonomia', from 'oikonomos' 'household manager', from 'oikos' 'house' + 'nemein' 'to manage'

Basically, the Greeks started it, the Latins copied it, and the French made it popular. The original meaning, however, is extraordinary: household manager. Or, perhaps more appropriately, "the state of household affairs."

I'm delighted. Because the idea of "economy" in the contemporary view is a total perversion of the root meaning. And the idea of "economy" as "household management" promises new understanding of affairs in our world of gross political neglect. (I mean political in both the "ideological" and "body politic" senses.)

Economics is not a science. It's really more a discussion.