Tribal Ritual Among the Ag-Econ

18 February 2009 at 10:13 am 3 comments

| Peter Klein |

Henry Bahn and George McDowell’s spin-off of the Leijonhufvud classic. I wonder how many other sub- and sister disciplines have their own versions? Sample:

Almost all tribe members adhere to a fundamental belief system and set of basic tenets called Neoclassic Econ. However, different groups in the tribe, sometimes formalized into castes called “fields,” are more or less strict in their adherence to different parts of these tribal teachings. . . .

One group, the Quant-jocques, thinks the tribe should ascribe to a special language and method of communication and analysis. Others, known as Institoots, think the Quant-jocques are introverts, inclined to want to know more and more about less and less, and thus miss important issues along the way. The Quant-jocques reply that the Institoots have more than their fair share of the “mists” about their work as Agg-econ-ni-mists. One of the revered elders of a related tribe decided to resolve some of the philosophical issues among tribe members about who they were and what they believed by pronouncing that the belief system is simply “what the tribe does.”

Like other academic disciplines, agricultural economics has its share of adjuncts, consultants, and other semi-professorial types:

There are also landless tribe members — some of those perhaps more disposed to vagrancy — scattered throughout the land doing what Ag-econs do. Indeed, one group in the tribe has members who live apart from the Depts and are therefore obliged to do honest work for a living. This group is known by its hard work and industry and are called “industry types” or, in an apparent slight, “nonacademics.” Yet another view of this group is that many of them are akin to wandering minstrels who dash in and out of the protected communities, donning the protective robes of the Depts when it serves them well, and when more is to be gained from singing their minstrel song for more than the honor of the Depts, they sing for the highest bidder.

Also lots of insider references on journals and annual meetings. A related discipline, rural sociology, is described in the classic “Village Idiot” Python sketch.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Food and Agriculture, Institutions.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ZH  |  18 February 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Haven’t read the full paper yet, but the excerpts you have here don’t seem to match up to Leijonhufvud. Not bad, but not nearly as good as Leijonhufvud.

  • […] of Agricultural Economics 19:404-410 (1997). (Hat tip to George McDowell.) This paper has been called “a spin-off of the Leijonhufvud classic.” (See below for “Life among the […]

  • […] of Agricultural Economics 19:404-410 (1997). (Hat tip to George McDowell.) This paper has been called “a spin-off of the Leijonhufvud classic.” (See below for “Life among the […]

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