Archive for December 3rd, 2012

There is Nothing Simple About the Golden Rule

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The average theologian smirks at this as simplistic and then proceeds to dazzle you with his dash into ancient Greek and Hebrew texts no one knows about unless he is paid to find them.

I was invited to be the single Discussant at a presentation of Public Choice professors. At least one attended was a Nobel Prize Laureate, and I was asked by the chairman of the Department of Economics of the University of Chicago.

That was back when I felt at home with a blackboard that had not a word on. A blackboard that was filled with equations. My wife, whom I had just brought back from South Africa and Europe, said, “So you’re one of those guys.”.”.Photobucket

Meaning one of the guys you see in movies in white coats in front a blackboard full of equations.

But my point here is that, while all this should have impressed the guys quoting lost Hebrew texts, there was a catch in it.

The whole board full of equations came from nothing but supply and demand.

Those impressive equations you see in the movies come from the simple statement of the Laws of Thermodynamics or none too subtle statements like “For each action there is an equal and opposite reaction

A few interesting truths have been stated in all the billions of words written by Chinese scholars, but never anything that even slightly compared to supply and demand or Newton’s universal application of simple gravity.

The Golden Rule is no simpler than nuclear physics. If I am dating a vegetarian, I do not do what I would want her to do unto me: Order big juicy steak
In fact if the Golden Rule were simple, I would be a billionaire. If one knows what other people want, he can make unlimited amounts of money.