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.

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