The Haiku Economist


        Recently at the annual California Libertarian Convention, a friend of mine gave me a copy of The Haiku Economist, which she had helped to edit.  In this work, author Jim Cox gives us 101 poems he wrote in the Haiku form that discuss economic principles.  Of course, Haiku is an ancient form of Japanese poetry that uses three lines, with five syllables in the first and third lines, and seven syllables in the second.  As most people would agree, it is certainly unusual to summarize economic principles at all, much less in 17 syllables.  But, amazingly enough, Cox is successful.  So, regretfully if not tragically, since economics is understood by few people, much less our younger generations, I hereby impart the existence of this book to our “2 Paragraphs” family, along with the continuing request that we all share it with others, particularly students.

        On the left side of the page, the book sets forth an economic situation, and then on the right side it provides the Haiku poem’s description.  For example, at page 58 it says: “The comedian denounced communism for its lack of consumer choices among suppliers.”  And on the right:

“Lenny Bruce said it:

Communism, just like one big

phone company, man.”

        So the book educates in a fun but still meaningful way.  Other examples are poems about Karl Marx, government intervention in the economy, comparing government housing with government healthcare, two economic approaches tried by the Pilgrims, “Too big to fail” companies, rent control, “opportunity costs,” licensing, profits, government regulation, “stimulus spending,” economic “scarcity,” economic “markets,” the banking system’s “fractional reserves,” and inflation.  In many ways, people can only truly understand the workings of the world if they understand at least simple economics, and that has big connotations for Liberty!  Jim Cox’s book helps in that effort – and I highly recommend it.  So please discuss it and pass it on.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President