Economists are a humorous lot

It is an odd fact that practitioners of the dismal science – or some of us – really are a humorous lot. Robert Solow is probably the funniest – but then he’s got a Nobel Prize so he’s a clever fellow.

I was reminded of this receiving Chris Caton’s report on the US economy today which was accompanied by the following tag line in the covering email.

It was a very quiet week, not least because of the Thanksgiving holiday. As customary, President Bush “pardoned” a turkey. Dick Cheney wanted to torture it.

I recall a conference I attended where Chris told the audience that line about someone stealing his wife’s credit card. He hadn’t reported it because the spending was still lower than his wife’s monthly spend.

Chris Caton really belongs at Access Economics which is full of people who enjoy jokes like this. Chris Richardson is perhaps the standard by which this kind of thing should be measured and perhaps as a result he appears endlessly on the tele with catchy but faintly ridiculous metaphors for the economy.

Chris is a very funny person and rarely better than in besting my own efforts. When I ring and get put through to him, he answers the phone with a friendly “Nick Baby!”. But when I ring and ask the receptionist to put me through to Chris and tell her to tell Chris that it’s ‘Nick Baby’ on the phone, she comes back with a request to know which ‘Nick Baby’ I am.

Chris was unavalilable one Sunday morning because he is a good Catholic and was at church. As a God fearing agnostic I asked Chris to put in a good word for me.

A few days later I asked him if he had. Chris said that he had tried, but the reply had come back “Nick who?”.

And so it goes. The thing about Access Economics is that all the partners – or all the ones I know – have a similar sense of humour. And they’re good economists too. It must be a fun place to work.

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David Tiley
2024 years ago

catchy but faintly ridiculous metaphors for the economy – just perfect.

2024 years ago

Did you hear the one about Smith, Friedman and Keynes? No, neither did I.

Ric Simes
Ric Simes
2024 years ago

Maybe what you say was right in the past, but Access has dropped its standards recently.

Nicholas Gruen
Nicholas Gruen
2024 years ago


I too was a little concerned about that ad in the employment section for “clapped out ex Keating staffers with catchy but faintly ridiculous metaphors for the economy”. I thought that was a mistake.