Economics Is Not Numbers

Economics Is Not Numbers

by Otto Dicpetris

I spent my whole life trying to figure out what the worst thing in the universe is, and 30 years later, I got it. Being boring or uptight. No, uptight. Being uptight.


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Geez, these people are really uptight


I feel like all people ever say is, “How are you.”

Poets just talk about all this weird stuff that doesn’t matter and they don’t make any sense. Say something that moves me but matters! Fucking poets, what’s wrong with them. I want everything I say to be poetic but I don’t want to be associated with the poets. 

(Alan Watts talks about how) money is supposed to be a unit of measurement of wealth, yet somehow we’ve turned it into the actual wealth. The real wealth is having a house, having people around, having food. The systems of measurement are not the wealth. It’s like saying we don’t have the wood to build a house, cause we don’t have inches to measure the wood to build the house. We need inches! During the depression people were like we can’t build the house cause we don’t have the money, the measurement system of wealth, even though we have the wood, we have the concrete and we have the people to build it. 

“Anyone who thinks they understand economics doesn't understand economics.”  "Economics is more complex than numbers. It’s all built on a confluence of different value systems. If one is insensitive or unaware of the complexities of human value systems they might say something totally number based. For example if you enact this set of political policies, the numeric response is the average person has 100,000 dollar bills. I can enact this social legislation and it’s like 2+2, right? 4 will pop out. And they go yeah we’ll do the same thing, but instead of one of the twos, they enact legislation like do or don’t give the poor a hundred bucks. And yes the math will keep popping up. Twos are variable in the equation cause it’s social legislation. I can make it so that 99 percent of us have 100,000 dollar bills if we make the other 1 percent do all the work. The “economic” systems say there are ways of getting dollar bills in our bank, but how do we get there.“


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Sure we’ll have it if we steal them from other countries but our value systems say we value not stealing it from other people. So when people say they understand economics, they don’t. Economics is intertwined with social systems that are always evolving. Words are unavoidably interpreted by people and so the way we acquire value systems through interpreting words means economics isn’t as simple as 2+2. I talk about what I value. I value not hurting people and people not hurting me and I value art but that’s subject to me interacting with the word value, with the word art, with the word hurting. Unfortunately economics is not numbers. As counter-intuitive and against the grain as that sounds, it’s the truth. I mean, there’s a bunch of numbers mixed in there with the number of pieces of corn that we produce each year. And Thank god it’s not just numbers. Life would be pretty dull. l wake up in the morning, what’ll I have today, 2 or 5? It’s shitty. And that is the whole thing about being human, we all have our own value systems. We both might want to give to the poor, but I might want to give the 5000 pieces of corn and you want to give them 500 pieces of corn. My brother was like, "but I took 5 classes on economics!” and I was like, “you could take 5000 classes and you still wouldn't know. Cause you just learn the numbers.”

And that’s the word from the Nightly Noodle Monthly.

Marcella Ortega