Economists are the new novelists, taking the pulse of the people, measuring life (yes, sometimes in coffee spoons) and giving us back a portrait of ourselves at work, play, and everywhere else. Indeed, even the term freakonomics, a famous recent coinage from the supposedly dismal science, is really a very Dickensian invention. Economists are tireless lexical innovators: Uriah Heep has got nothing on trickle-down, backwardation, and irrational exuberance.
And language innovation is essential because economists, like the novelists of old, are now charged with delivering our collective narrative. For if anything still links us inextricably and inarguably, it’s not society or any such flimsy term, but the macro-economy. Yes, we are all, to some degree, Cypriots. So thank goodness for Tyler Cowen, an egalitarian-minded economist who shares his views and interests at marginalrevolution.com (with the also excellent Alex Tabarrok). Cowen writes plain English (with flourishes!) and his interests range widely–just like all the great novelists. (Kasparov and LeBron James together? Sure, here.) Cowen makes the abstract figurative–an artist’s trick. He’s telling our story. You should read it.