Economists around the nation are buzzing about the increased value accruing to society as a result of a new invention that has made all their jobs totally obsolete.
“Isn’t it wonderful?” said Norman Frankl, former economist and inventor of the device. “This is what the free market is all about, folks. Services which used to cost consumers into the hundreds of dollars per hour plus a full benefits package can now be had for pennies.”
Frankl’s invention, called Econobot, consists of a lifelike, anthropomorphic robot programmed to use a comprehensive economics software suite called Efficient Market. From teaching undergrads and writing multivolume treatises to delivering cherry-picked data and partisan talking points to television news outlets, Econobot can replicate every service previously performed by the nation’s economists.
“It even has a ‘rogue’ function for producing contrarian podcasts and rant-based blogs,” says Frankl. “One time I set [my Econobot] Chester to rogue, and he played a prank on some snobby professor buddies of mine, tricking them into declaring Franzia top shelf French wine after changing the labels in a tasting game.”
Econobot also aims to imitate the various lifestyles of the professionals it replaces. Depending on user-defined settings, the robot can wear everything from a bow tie, suspenders and tweed to free t-shirts it forages from festivals it just happened to be walking by. It also requires no charging, instead running on heat generated by the chemical breakdown of bulk-purchased, wholesale ramen and Kraft Easy Mac.
Just as important, Econobot is capable of performing its functions through the lens of nearly every school of economic thought in a manner Forbes magazine gushed is “just as cold and borderline sociopathic as the discipline’s most influential human practitioners.”
“I don’t care if you’re a world famous academic or the armchair economist next door,” says inventor Frankl, “This thing can do your thing, and it can do it better. Keynesian or supply-sider, pre-modern, classical, Chicago school, Neo-Ricardian, gold bug, Austrian, Marxian, ecological, feminist. You name it. And it’s all further customizable by the user. There are 100 different settings for smugness alone.”
Before Econbot, the only people with the resources to obtain top flight economic insight were large corporations, educational institutions and governments. Everyone else seeking personalized economic analysis usually had to procure the services of lesser-known, independent economists working the street corners, infomercials and blogs of America. These “indy” economists generally practiced outside mainstream economic thought, which was not always appealing to some consumers.
This increase in consumer choice is a welcome change for most of the nation’s former economists, and Econobot agrees. Indeed, the general response among the former economics community at large has been one of jubilation as the gears of capitalistic progress grind what meager livelihood and meaning they had derived from life into ash and dust. Many are even committing suicide so as not to inefficiently leech off the economy’s resources in unemployment, since they no longer possess any marketable skills and will likely be unable to find another job anytime soon, if ever.
“This is a fantastic example of disruptive innovation,” said Malthus T. May, former economics professor at the University of Chicago, while standing in line at the Cook County unemployment office. “Some great new invention just came out of nowhere and totally changed how we look at the economics industry. Of course, you don’t need me to tell you that anymore. Just go down to your local Econobot retailer or one of the many websites offering free, ad-supported Econobot analysis.”
“It’s wonderful. Really, it is,” May insisted, digging through the crevices of his empty wallet. “So many people who previously could not afford the services of a top flight economist can now get exemplary economic analysis for next to nothing. Thank god Congress decided not to pass any inefficient, protectionist regulations which might have preserved my job at the cost of progress.”