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Chicago. Gilbert and Sullivan Parody Songs. About Classical and Keynesian Economics.

 

 

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Every so often the tiny cultural studies scholar inside my economist body says it is time to post another artifact from the social life of an economics department. Annual Christmas parties, skit parties and picnics (less so) are occasions when economists attempt to write comedy and some popular or familiar song or text gets reworked into a bit of burlesque humor.

Transcriptions of such masterpieces previously posted in Economics in the Rear-view Mirror include: FIRST EPISTLE UNTO NEW STUDENTS, WHEN I WAS A LAD, COWLES COMMISSION SONG, and SONG FOR AN ENTREPRENEUR.

This evening I thought I would treat myself to a quick-and-easy posting of the lyrics of two songs taken from the nine pages stapled together of University of Chicago skits that I found in Albert Rees’ papers at Duke. In an act of unpremeditated scholarship I glanced at what I had believed to be identical copies of the same stuff in Milton Friedman’s papers. Then to my horror (I really wanted this to be a quick-and-easy posting), I discovered that the two versions are not quite identical (recycling!). The only honorable thing to do was to post both versions side-by-side and highlight their differences. The versions found in Milton Friedman’s papers seem to me to read better than those found in Albert Rees’ papers which leads me to conclude that the versions from the Friedman papers are of more recent vintage.

Authorship is unknown, but there can be no doubt that we are dealing with lyrics composed, performed, and (first) enjoyed by economists at the University of Chicago sometime in the first two decades after WWII (when Rees was at the University of Chicago).

My personal favorite line: “In economic theory we’re wed to ceteris paribus./We find it nicer living where the air is rather raribus.”

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Parody of  Gilbert and Sullivan’s “I am the very model of a modern Major General”

To enjoy the original work being parodied:

English National Opera: Major-General’s Song from The Pirates of Penzance – live and with lyrics!

I AM THE VERY MODEL OF A CLASSICAL ECONOMIST

(To the tune of “I am the very model of a modern Major General” from THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE)

I AM THE VERY MODEL OF A U OF C ECONOMIST

(To the tune of “I am the very model of a modern Major General” from THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE)

I am the very model of a classical economist.
A Marshall, Smith, Pigou and Mill
Comprise my total reading list
For policy, you must insist
On having as your analyst
A U of C example of a classical economist.
I am the very model of a classical economist.
A Marshall, Smith, Pigou and Mill
Comprise my total reading list
For policy, you must insist
On having as your analyst
A U of C example of a classical economist.
Our tools are based on static equilibrium analyses.
The economy we study is afflicted with paralyses.
But, if you want an analyst,
For quality you must insist
On a U of C example of a classical economist.
Our tools are based on static equilibrium analyses.
The economy we study is afflicted with paralyses.
But, if you want an analyst,
For quality you must enlist
A U of C example of a classical economist.
Competitive adjustment is the true course for all laborers.
A freely fluctuating wage, all long-run benefits confers,
So, unions, if you must persist
Remember, that an analyst
Does not come any finer than a classical economist.
Competitive adjustment is the true course for all laborers.
A freely fluctuating wage, all long-run benefits confers,
So, unions, if you must persist
Remember, that an analyst
Does not come any finer than a classical economist.
In economic theory we’re committed to ceteris paribus.
We find it easier living where the air is rather raribus.
So, if you want an analyst
For purity you must insist
On a U of C example of a classical economist.
In economic theory we’re wed to ceteris paribus.
We find it nicer living where the air is rather raribus.
So, if you want an analyst
For purity you must enlist
A U of C example of a classical economist.
The chastity of this our land we manifestly must preserve.
The banking system should be based on 100% reserve.
So obvious, so simple this
Why does the FRB exist?
Replace it with a very special U of C economist.
The chastity of this our land we manifestly must preserve.
The banking system should be based on 100% reserve.
So obvious, so simple this
Why does the FRB exist?
Replace it with a very special U of C economist.
Our little coterie extends from here across to Manchester.
But government advisers seldom here or there with us concur.
We must ask a psychiatrist
Why our advice they all resist.
But we’ll keep the tradition of the classical economist.
Our little coterie extends from here across to Manchester.
But government advisers seldom here or there with us concur.
We’ll ask a good psychiatrist
Why our advice they all resist.
But we will bear the standard of the classical economist.
Source: Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Economists’ Papers Archive. Papers of Albert Rees. Box 1, Folder “Rees—Personal”. Source: Hoover Institution Archives, Papers of Milton Friedman, Box 79, Folder 6 “University of Chicago Miscellaneous”.

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Parody of  Gilbert and Sullivan’s “I’m Called Little Buttercup”

To enjoy the original work being parodied:

Lyric Theatre of San Jose performing “I’m Called Little Buttercup” from H.M.S. Pinafore.  Song starts at 0:45.

KEYNESIAN SONG

(To the tune “They call me Little Buttercup” from H.M.S. Pinafore)

THEY CALL ME A KEYNESIAN

(to the tune of Buttercup from PINAFORE)

They call me a Keynesian, a Keynesian Economist
And that I can never deny
For I’m a heretic, a classicist critic
Bold little Keynesian, I.
They call me a Keynesian, a Keynesian economist
And that I cannot deny.
For I’m a heretic, a classicist critic,
Bold little Keynesian, I.
I’ve equations and functions, and marginal assumptions
All here in my little kit bag.
I have tricky proposals for income disposals
All lest the economy sag.
I’ve equations and functions, and marg’nal assumptions
All here in my little kit bag.
I’ve tricky proposals for income disposals
Lest the economy sag.
To deficit spending and government lending
I give a hearty “Huzzah”.
I distrust automaticity despite its simplicity
I doubt if it would work at all.
To deficit spending and government lending
I give a hearty huzzah.
I shun automaticity despite its simplicity;
I doubt if it would work at all.
For I am a Keynesian, a Keynesian economist
And that I can never deny
For I’m a heretic, a classicist critic
Bold little Keynesian, I.
They call me a Keynesian, a Keynesian economist
And that I can cannot deny.
For I’m a heretic, a classicist critic,
Bold little Keynesian, I.
When faced with deflation or misallocation
I feel that the former is worse
I abominate waste with Ricardian distaste
But still first things always come first.
When faced with deflation or misallocation
I feel that the former is worse.
I abominate waste with Ricardian distaste,
But still first things always come first.
And yet they deplore me, criticize and abhor me
For I am the standard straw man
But blows I don’t heed—Oh, I’ll stick to my credo
That a plan is a plan is a plan.
And yet they deplore me, criticize and abhor me,
For I am the standard straw man.
But blows I don’t heedo, I’ll stick to my credo,
That a plan is a plan is a plan.
For I am a Keynesian, a Keynesian economist
And that I can never deny
For I’m a heretic, a classicist critic—
Bold little Keynesian, I.
Source: Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Economists’ Papers Archive. Papers of Albert Rees. Box 1, Folder “Rees—Personal”. Source: Hoover Institution Archives, Papers of Milton Friedman, Box 79, Folder 6 “University of Chicago Miscellaneous”.

Image Source:   Monty Python’s silly walks.  Quora website:   What are examples of Low Comedy?

 

 

 

 

Irwin Collier

Posted by: Irwin Collier

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