How Economic Models are Made (or What Heads of Institutions I will be Applying to Should Not Come Across

>> Thursday, August 21, 2008

(N.B. Judging by initial reactions, I hasten to add that this post does not reflect my knowledge of Mathematics, Economics or Physics. This is just one of those silly conversations people have when faced with too much of Economics)
"He Dharti ma, mujhe apne god me samale!!"

"No, nothing, not even a budge," Bonky observed and tilted her head in thought. "Maybe you have got the words wrong. These goddesses are very picky about the words you say."

"Hmm, should we be more specific you think? Maybe ask her to open a crevice and then add the 'god me samale' bit?"

"If you ask me, she would get offended if you treat her like a kid. Next you know, the earth will start contracting again and we will end up right next to the Russians and Bangladesh will become a mountain."

"As admirable as your Geography is, I think its worth an effort."

The revised version of the classic suicide appeal was exclaimed again with full fervour with no tragic results and we were left mulling over the undivided road yet again.

"You know what I think? Dharti ma has done her work. Now we need to appeal to the god of roads. The earth is probably all hollowed and awaiting my corpse. We need to pray to the road to divide and let me access my grave."

"Trying to commit suicide, are we? Is this because they abolished the examinations for masters at Presi? Come, come now, we know suicide is too drastic a step, do not we? Try breaking a leg or something," remarked an interloper.

"We have an examination for masters? Since when? You think mundane stuff like this drives to me to desperation? Ye hardly know me, interloper."

"Of course we do," said the interloper, ignoring everything else but the reference to examinations. "Don't you remember PM telling us some girl only drew a downward sloping line when asked what a budget line was?"

"No. Who is PM?"

"Uh, the Indian Economy professor, but never mind that. Why in the world are you looking so thoughtful? Last I saw you looked thoughtful was when you were making paper balls to throw at..."

"Yes, never mind that. Ask me that question again."

"Why in the world are you..? Oh, oh, you mean what is a budget line?"

"Seriously, what is a budget line? It is a downward sloping line. What more could we add? That it looks like a rainbow from afar if drawn with one of those multi coloured pens?"

Bonky, appalled by my ignorance, added her own intellectual input to the answer, "It has a negative slope. Oh, and in case supply is rationed.."

Quelling her with a glance, I continued, "Let me think out the answer without trying to write downward sloping lines have a negative slope. Oh, oh wait, I know, a budget line is a downward sloping line. This means it slopes...er...downwards.."

"Oh yes," Bonky interrupted icily. " I can not mention downward sloping lines have negative slopes but you can mention downward sloping lines slope downwards. Not only are you a despot, you are a..."

"Careful with your language. I have a feeling I might be blogging about this later."

"You blog about us?? You mean our conversations and everything?"

"Of course not," I remarked airily. "Now stop interrupting my answer. So, since a budget line slopes downwards, we can assume the force of gravity acts on it."

"We can assume what," she exclaimed.

"I am just incorporating a bit of tenth grade Physics. You should know gravity now. You studied Physics at high school, did not you? Waste of time in my opinion, when you had to end up as an economist and forget about gravity. So, where were we? Oh yes, let us assume slope of budget line is -1. It can be anything really; we just need a negative value. So do not go stretch the syllables of the word 'what' again. Acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 m/sec². Now, we will proceed to equate them. Therefore, -1= 9.8 m/sec². Bonky, why are your eyes popping out?"

"Are they? I never noticed. The weather, perhaps? Tell me," she added conversationally," do not you think equating -1 with 9.8 is rather pathbreaking? Not many people dare to do it."

"I did not equate it with 9.8, Bonky," I replied, a strained note creeping in my my voice due to all the unnecessary explanations. " I equated it with 9.8 m/sec². And close your mouth. What with all the eye popping and mouth gaping, you are beginning to look like Fishface"

"That, of course, makes all the difference."

"Now for the last bit of my answer and pray do not interrupt me again. Cross-multiplying, we can say -1/9.8 = m/sec². Bonky, I see you goggling again. It is a very unnerving habit. Get rid of it. Sec² cannot be negative, since it is a square, which implies meter is negative. However, we know distance is a scalar quantity and can not be negative."

"So? Go on. You interest me enormously. How will you deal with this obstruction to your brilliance?"

"So, Bonky, all it proves is that a budget line does not exist. The concept of a budget line is mathematically unsound and hence, all we have learnt in Consumer Behaviour is based on the foundation of mathematically incorrect theories. Which means our Part 1 examination was one big lie."

"You know," remarked Bonky, after thinking it over a bit," I think the ground vibrated a little. Want to try that prayer again?"

13 scaly flippers:

What's In A Name ? 10:48 pm, August 23, 2008  

shades of collective brilliance in the first and last parts.

encore!

the girl with a zillion namesakes 1:31 am, August 24, 2008  

this equcation makes perfect sense on a blog at 1:30 a.m and can you please also explain the ruckus around inflation in such lucid language

~Moo-lah Buz!nezzz~ 1:14 pm, August 25, 2008  

Lol,that was kinda crazy!
Im still a bit mindboggled

Standbymind 2:32 pm, August 27, 2008  

ha ha awesome!

I just flunked and gat a big D in ma Micro exam!

:O

Briliant!

aandthirtyeights 8:04 pm, August 30, 2008  

"However, we know distance is a scalar quantity and can not be negative."

I'd seriously dispute that. Displacement is also measured in metres (the last time I studied physics, seven years ago). So, the budget line does exist!

ad libber 9:01 pm, August 30, 2008  

@WIAN
I consider that discouraging. Why is not the middle part good enough?

@TGWAZN
umm no, I am doing three different papers on them. I will not let it taint my bloggie. But you are invited to one of my paper readings.

@Moo
:D

@standbymind
Not enough graphs?

@aandthirtyeights
now let me jiggle my brains a little and remember Physics papers from yore to save my little theory.
Displacement signifies motion mostly. I would have said graphically plotted lines do not have motion. However, I could not have added the concept of g without motion.
s=ut+1/2 at^2
speed is constant (9.8 m/sec^2)
therefore, s=ut
(as a=0)
initial velocity is 9.8 m/sec^2, time can not be negative. Hence, in context of this graph, displacement can not be negative. Hence, budget line does not exist

p.s. note to all people in love with Physics and things akin to it: I am sorry.

Mahua 11:54 pm, August 30, 2008  

*initial velocity 9.8m/sec

Sharath 3:10 am, August 31, 2008  

Oh I don't want to be so cribby about the details of the budget line (and I would not have done so even if I did know anything about it)

My favourite part of the whole scene was, "Quelling her with a glance..."

They are just the right words to use...I would never have used them :-)

Sharath

The none 7:11 pm, August 31, 2008  

mairi!! I have no idea what economics is about and I just reallized that I have no idea what physics is all about too!

Note: Though I proved an important result back in high school that whenever a girl walks, neglecting the friction due to clothes, her buttmotion is a simple harmonic motion :D

vanilla sky 4:57 pm, September 02, 2008  

Gravity seems to be equally popular with economists as it is with physicists !
while reading an article by Md Yunus, came across a line which says "to overcome the gravitational force of financial dependence..."

and i'd definitely not exercise my physics concepts to deprive you of your new found joy
p.s:u've been tagged

aandthirtyeights 12:31 am, September 04, 2008  

I shall now repeat what my physics teacher told me in similar circumstances - "The gravity of the situation hasn't hit you yet." Hyuk Hyuk.

ad libber 1:30 am, September 04, 2008  

@mahua
all righty, mum. Stop haunting my bloggy.
@sharath
I forgot to write everything proper about the budget line, hoping against hope no economist would come across it. So I am glad.
@the none
I am glad I have forgotten all about the harmonic motion
@vanilla sky
Thank you. Really.
@aandthirtyeights
It is extremely unfair to use an argument one can not mathematically counter. Now all I can think up is awfully bad jokes about how my theory would be irrevocably proved on the moon.

Abhishek... inside out 2:04 am, September 07, 2008  

Take it from (almost) an engineer, you guys should Not be talking physics!

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