A few years back, I took an Intro to Macro Economics course. Our professor offered us the opportunity to earn some fun extra credit by writing twenty original economics-related haiku(s?). I’m sure he wasn’t expecting anyone to take the assignment very seriously (“supply and demand/are things that economists/ talk about too much”; there I just wrote one), but I saw it as an opportunity to express some Austrian insights, poke fun at some Keynesian ideas, and have a little fun. I thought I’d share what I did with you guys here.  Forgive some of my non-poetic butchery re: the traditional 5/7/5 haiku meter, but overall I was pleased with the result. What do you think?

One note on haiku #16 – I was trying to address the explanation of the 2008 financial crisis our professor had given us – that the ever-increasing Chinese middle class, with its high savings rate, was the primary cause of the Great Recession. The loose monetary policies in the West during the early 2000s fueled a boom in the East, the story goes; however, those in the East save money at a greater rate than do those in the West. This disequilibrated the worldwide economy and began a chain reaction that eventually led to what we saw in 2008. This all may be true enough. However, the point I tried to make with this haiku was simply that talking about Asian savings rates as a fundamental cause seems weirdly arbitrary. After all, where did the Asians get the money to save in the first place? Is it just “turtles all the way down,” as the old saying goes?


 

  1. Scarcity is the
    primary problem with which
    economics deals
  2. In a world without
    scarcity, economics
    would be meaningless.
  3. Labor, capital,
    and land: these three make up the
    production factors.
  4. Robinson Crusoe
    helps us understand basic
    principles. Agreed?
  5. We engage in trade,
    Comparative advantage!
    Wealth is created.
  6. Diamond, not water?
    It seems like a paradox.
    Not at the margin…
  7. Marg’nal util’ty
    explains rational action…
    A revolution!
  8. Invisible Hand,
    move us, through self-interest,
    to efficient outcomes.
  9. Minimum wages
    and other price fixing schemes
    hamper the market.
  10. Sans property rights
    incentives will be perverse:
    dead economy.
  11. A broken window
    does not confer a net gain
    on society.
  12. Certain theories
    imply a cause/effect link
    of boom with bust; hmmm.
  13. Interest is theft?
    Dude, you forgot time pref’rence,
    implied by action.
  14. Ceteris pari-
    bus, the powerful concept,
    holds all else constant.
  15. Prices not formed by
    costs of production; rather
    subjective values.
  16. Giant money pool,
    whether Asians spend or save,
    must first be printed.
  17. Market int’rest rate,
    a signal to coord’nate
    action over time.
  18. Candlemakers would
    like protection from the sun,
    Bastiat lampoons.
  19. The margin between
    price and contribution of
    factors is int’rest.
  20. The supply curve is
    upward sloping; if it were
    otherwise…absurd.