In this long interview with Wired, Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman talks about the relationship between science fiction and economics. Krugman says he was inspired to pursue economics by Asimov's Foundation series (he's written the introduction to a forthcoming commemorative edition) and praises Charlie Stross for the economics work in The Family Trade books.
Economist Paul Krugman Is a Hard-Core Science Fiction Fan
Wired: In the movie Star Trek: First Contact, a character asks Captain Picard how much it cost to build the Enterprise, and he replies, “The economics of the future are somewhat different. You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century. The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves, and the rest of humanity.” What do you think about that?
Krugman: I will say, even with all my science fiction-y stuff, that in economics … it’s not that things never change, but they change much more slowly — the underlying principles change much more slowly — than most people imagine. You can read John Maynard Keynes or Irving Fischer from the 1930s, and except for a few archaic turns of phrase it looks like they’re describing what’s happening right now. My friend — and actually fellow science fiction fan — Brad DeLong at Berkeley, actually says that Walter Badgett’s book from the 1870s about financial crises reads better than most of the articles you’ll see in the popular press these days.
It’s true that the laws of economics are really quite different for the 21st century than they were in the 15th century, because we didn’t really have many of the features of a market economy back then. And maybe by the 24th century it’ll be different again, but I’m not so sure about that optimistic view of Captain Picard. One thing I think we see is that greed has a way of breaking through, no matter what we do on other fronts.
(via Making Light
Red Lava Toys is a Detroit-based startup that make super cool, low-cost custom Minecraft figs at a local makerspace: they CNC-milled their own injection molds for the body and joints, and have precision die-cut vinyl stickers that they print to order with long-lasting ink and cover with a clear adhesive coat, then place them on […]
My UK publisher, Head of Zeus, has published the official tour schedule for the British tour for Walkaway, with stops in Oxford (with Tim Harford), London (with Laurie Penny), Liverpool (with Chris Pak), Birmingham, and the Hay Literary Festival (with Dr Adam Rutherford). Hope to see you there!
My publicist just found an extra box of the cool promotional Walkaway multitools, and she’s generously offered to give them to the next 100 people to reserve tickets to the May 7th Walkaway event at Chicago’s Royal George Theater, where I’m presenting with CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY creator Max Temkin (current ticket-holders, don’t worry, you get […]
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]