Economics is just modern fortune-telling.

Minor rant: If I were Queen of the Universe, #12 on my list of proclamations would be this: We stop saying/writing/reporting things like “Market fails to meet analysts’ projections”, or “The 3rd quarter figures were lower than predicted.” All such utterances should place the blame where it goes: On the economists, not on the figures.

“Analysts fail to predict market. Again. So far this year, they’re doing only slightly better than chance. Could you remind me why we’re paying them?”

“For the 23rd quarter in a row, the economists are wrong. This time they only missed the answer by 3%, which is pretty good, for them.”

I used to think that economics wasn’t a science, but I’m broadening my definitions. I think macroeconomics is an interesting way of looking at the world. I find the Freakonomics podcast fascinating, for example. But that doesn’t make economics a good way of predicting the likelihood of a specific event–certainly not to the degree you can rely on in chemistry or physics.

It’s kind of like weather forecasting for my neighborhood vs. meteorology for the planet. You can still call it science, if you’re using “science” to mean a “way of knowing”. It just falls apart a little when you get to the “replicability” standard for scientific merit. I’m OK with that–I don’t require that level of rigor from everything I believe. Love isn’t predictably replicable. Nor is poetry, or faith. But economics is pretending to be chemistry, when it’s arguably more like astrology, and that pretense bothers me.

I want to put an image here from, because it would be funny. However, I’m pretty wary of image-searching-lawyer-bots, so I’ll just link to it instead: Enjoy.

Queen of the Universe, 10 & 11

10. Do you own or rent a property which has sidewalks that other people might have to walk or push a stroller or use a wheelchair on, ever? Has there been wintry precipitation recently? It’s your responsibility to make your walk safe. No snow. No ice. Wide enough for wheels. If you can’t do it yourself, my benign government will have a postal-code/neighborhood-searchable “Get shoveling help” app, so you can find paid or free assistance. If someone slips and falls on your property because you just didn’t bother, there will be severe consequences. (For example, making you Snow Remover For Life. for your whole block.)

11. Highway sign change: Any sign that now says “Do not pass” or “No passing zone” will become “None shall pass!!”

Queen of the Universe, continued

7. Biting insects and blood-borne pathogens, begone! But with some kind of “don’t screw up the entire food web/population balance” rider.

8. There’s got to be some kind of population reduction. I know this is going to be why the peasants rise up and burn me in my palatial roundhouse, but I think there are too many people. Finding new ways to grow more food seems like a losing proposition, eventually, what with our planet being finite and all. Best suggestion so far: Everyone is reversibly sterilized at birth, no exceptions. Then, after you turn 21, if you want kids, you apply for a breeding license. At first I don’t think there will even be any more hoops than that. You apply for one, you get one. Like a fishing license.

When I’m Queen of the Universe

I was gonna write these up in a Facebook note but then I got all paranoid about ownership and copyright issues. Weird.

Anyway: My Queen of the Universe Platform / List of Proclamations

1. Proselytization is punishable by death. Zero tolerance. You want to set up a storefront or a website or a mail-order business telling people about your god(s), have at it. But you start knocking on people’s doors or invading their countries and telling them they have the wrong gods, and you will vanish without a trace. [Clarification: I don’t mean my personal guard will come and kidnap you. I mean you’ll just spontaneously vaporize. Poof.]
2. All public trash cans that look like barrels with two legs and round heads shall be painted to look like R2D2.
3. Some kind of kilt subsidy. I used to think I would proclaim Tuesdays as Utilikilt Day, but I don’t want to make it too structured. I just want more men to wear kilts, more of the time.
4. Ban advertising. (In part just to see what happens if people only buy things they actually need, or that they happen across and find delightful. Also because I think advertising is a corrosive force, spiritually and psychologically speaking.)
5. No patents for life forms. I feel like genetically modified organisms are a giant Promethean Frankenstein nightmare waiting to happen, but I also think that viral genetic medicine is interesting and potentially beneficial, and I love the Golden Rice concept, so I don’t really know how far to take this one.
6. No Christmas music before Thanksgiving. And no “holiday medleys” of any kind. The severest penalties will be reserved for medleys of holiday music composed after 1900, played on “classical” instruments like violins and cellos and piano, and then broadcast by stations that should be playing actual classical music.