democracy

New “Econobot” Puts America’s Economists Out of Work

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.”

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I’m a Registered Non-Voter

Let’s fix this fucker up.

NFFHC is a part of W. Keith Zoroastrian Enterprises, an international media conglomerate consisting of hundreds of different publications spreading Truth throughout the world. From time to time we will reprint articles from our sister publications which our editorial staff have deemed particularly important or relevant to the modern world and of exceptionally high quality. What follows was originally published as a letter to the editor in the Greensburg Observer, a news and opinion journal located in Greensburg, Indiana, following the November midterm elections. It is penned by frequent contributor and renowned humanitarian Jake Besco.

To the Editor of the Greensburg Observer,

As another election season has come and gone, it’s important to take time to consider how lucky we are to live in a country where anybody, no matter how humble their origins or nakedly self-serving their ambitions, can become super rich and impose their will on the nation by spending gargantuan sums of money. As Adam Smith once wrote, campaign contributions and corporate media propaganda are the very foundation of any healthy capitalist democracy. It’s Freedom with a capitalist F. The troops (thank you for your service, etc.) may fight for our freedom, and we may love our freedom, but it is these glorious citizens who get our freedom. Let us thank our holy and inspired founding fathers for giving us such a precious gift as the right to choose which party stooge gets to root around America’s cookie jar this year.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s time you give up, stop pretending you have any voice and join me in giving it all the middle finger.

Fellow citizens, I’m a registered non-voter. I have been ever since I started not voting at the age of 18. Every election Tuesday I take some time off work, fire up the ol’ Chevy and drive down to the polling place. I wait in line (no cutting!), fill in a few bubbles on a blank sheet of paper to simulate the physical stresses of voting and then leave.

Yep. That’s it. Hardcore non-voting.

Why go to all this trouble? To prove I’m not just being lazy. Let me be clear: no voting occurs during this whole empty act. I am simply scribbling on a piece of paper I brought with me. This is my way of pissing on the whole process without feeling like a piece of crap, or at least without feeling like a lazy piece of crap. I like to call it active cynicism.

Sure, I know what you’re thinking. Why oh why? You have a civic responsibility, Jake! Do you know how many people would kill/have died for the right to vote? Don’t complain when the person you don’t like gets elected!

Let me be clear: fuck off.

In America, we get our choice of laws like people at Golden Corral get their choice of food. There’s a whole lot of every kind of food, and it’s all shit. In every election there is a 99% chance a person I don’t like will get elected and only watered-down, filler-stuffed laws I don’t give a shit about will reach a meaningful vote in Congress. The best I can hope for in this situation is the person I dislike less getting elected, the buffet equivalent of a C+ chicken noodle soup I can stomach for an entire bowl.

Note that I said something will come along. Someone never, ever comes along. Every generation must learn this fact the hard way by caring about a candidate, getting them elected and then realizing that they’re essentially the same as everyone else. Barack Obama is the Millennial Generation’s version of this. His crime isn’t that he’s done anything any worse than other politician, it’s that he led us to believe he was different from other politicians. When he finally got into office and showed us that he was just a typical career politician, it was like when you compare the burger you get in real life to the one you saw in the restaurant’s ad. He’s a match.com date whose picture looked like a 10 but turned about to be a 4 when you finally met. Perhaps he wouldn’t have seemed so bad if he had sold himself as just another career politician, but he was supposed to be something different.

Although, I suppose, if I’m really honest with myself, what I really hate about elections isn’t so much the candidates, as the people who elect them. The candidates are just a reflection in our collective mirror, being what they are because that’s what works in elections. Anyone who spoke their mind and advocated real change on real issues would not get elected. Ever. What I’m saying is I despise our process because I despise voters—that is to say decent, hardworking “folks” like you and me, your average Joes, your straight shooters, the teeming, gelatinous client base of Wal-Mart. These are folks with good old-fashioned values, the kind of people who care about the price of gas and their local sports team more than civil rights or flaws in our justice system. They lap up pandering slogans, rhetorical tricks and nipple slips like hogs at a trough of half-fermented slops.

I refuse to be a folk. I demand to be manipulated in a sophisticated way. Don’t just pull on my goddamn strings and expect me to dance. I’m not a goddamn monkey. I just evolved from goddamn monkeys. Folks don’t even have the dignity of being difficult to manipulate. Just memorize a list of talking points containing “opinions” like finding strength and guidance in one’s faith, enjoying hard work and vigorous competition, glorifying the past, all the lessons learned from having come from humble beginnings, acting like the Constitution is holy scripture, rabidly supporting small business, having your cake and eating it too with taxes, etc. Did I mention gas prices? Throw as wide of a net as possible, throw in some argument-ending kill words like “socialist” or “racist” to describe your opponent and reel the folks onto your boat, flopping around naked and suffocating before you lop their empty heads off.

But this is not news. Plenty of people know it. In their hearts, even the folks know it. What bothers me is that people don’t have the common decency to lapse into pit of active cynicism like myself. They process way too seriously. They still hoot and holler when politicians don’t deliver and/or break their promises. Really, though, what did you expect? Politicians are people whose primary motivation in life is the accumulation of as much power as possible. Who could you possibly trust less with a whole shit ton of power than someone willing to say anything to get it? It’s like trusting a junky with your stash or an alcoholic with your booze.

When these people say they want to give back, make America strong again, etc., all they’re saying is they want to stick their dick in the proverbial American pie. They’re whispering sweet nothings in Lady Liberty’s ears to get into her pants. But, unlike most women who have repeatedly had their trust violated, she just keeps coming back for more.

Hugs and Kisses,

Jake Besco