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Musings on Logic, Analysis, Decision-Making, and Other Elements of Natural and Artificial Intelligence

If Dr. Seuss Were An Economist

Tomorrow (March 2, 2019) would have been the 115th birthday of one of the most talented doctors in history. And while Theodor Geisel may have adopted his “Dr. Seuss” pseudonym well before his alma mater, Dartmouth, bestowed upon him an honorary doctorate in “Awesomeness” (and later named their medical school after him), I’d like to imagine how a few of Geisel’s books might have turned out if they were instead written by “Dr. Seuss, Professor of Economics.”  Please file this one under “Fan Fiction…”

The Cat in the Hat

In walked the Cat with a briefcase in hand.
Said the Cat in the Hat: “Here’s the plan I have planned...

I have a good business idea, and I mean it.
I'll make a big mess, then you'll pay me to clean it.
I’ve brought games to play, then I’ll sweep them away.
My rate is nine hundred eleven a day.

For Things One and Two I'll charge ninety an hour.
Or maybe twice that.  I have bargaining power.
And, lest I forget, the tricks come with a fee.”
Said the Cat, with a blank stare at Sally and me.

“No no!” said the Fish, from the side of the room.
“Dear Cat, you have not thought this through, I presume.
Your pricing assumes that you have market power
But I can get three other bids in an hour.”

The Cat, caught off-guard, said “OK, Mr. Fish,
I’ll charge half my rate, or one-third, if you wish.”
The Fish said, “One-fourth!  Plus, throw in a hat.”
And that is the deal that we struck with the Cat.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Congratulations!
Today’s your best yet.
You’ve now finished college
With plenty of debt.

You have a few offers,
That means you have choices!
Deciding is hard,
And you hear many voices.

Your father says,
“Pick the one paying the most money.”
Your mother says,
“I know you’ll do what’s best, honey.”

But one thing’s for certain,
Your job will be jobby,
Because if they pay you
It’s not just a hobby!

Oh, the places you’ll go!

You'll start at the bottom
When first you are hired.
But you will move up
If you first don’t get fired.

You’ll be middle manager,
Then supervisor,
Then Sr. VP,
You’ll be such a fast riser!

You’ll read and write memos,
Make calls and send faxes.
You’ll make lots of money
And pay lots of taxes.

You’ll develop an ulcer,
And mild hypertension,
So you will retire
And live off your pension.

You’ll visit your grandkids
And lounge in the sun.
If life were a game,
It’s a game you’ll have won.

But wherever you go,
Just be careful when spending
So you’ll have enough saved
For a nice happy ending.

Yertle the Turtle

On a corner of Wall St. called Sala-ma-Sund,
Yertle the Turtle had founded a fund.
A nice little fund. Which was funded by funders
Who’d come far and wide ‘cause they heard of its wonders.
Consistent returns over twenty percent!
Investors kept coming, and none ever went.
They called him the “King of the Funds.”  And he was!
No other fund manager did what he does!

Alas, through the market, a general rumble
Caused stocks of all sectors to suddenly tumble.
The loyal investors began phoning Yertle,
Requesting their capital back from the Turtle.

But there was a secret that he was concealing:
The funds he “invested,” he really was stealing.
He’d cook up the statements that showed their wealth growing
While he’d spend their money, with nobody knowing.

So Yertle, the Fund King, brought in more believers,
Whose capital he used to pay out the leavers.
And, from these new funds, he continued his spending,
While showing on statements the growth never-ending.

One little investor, a turtle named Mack,
Called Yertle one morning, and asked for cash back,
By that point, the Fund King was totally spent,
And barked, “Listen Mack, I won’t give you one cent!
I’m king of the funds, and you’re lucky to be
An investor at all in a fund run by me!”

Then, just as he finished, he heard a loud KICK
Which opened his door, and inside entered quick
At least seven turtles, with guns and blue vests
The first one said, “Yertle, you’re under arrest!
My name’s Agent Mack. I’ve had you in my sights
For several years.  Now I’ll read you your rights!"

So today, the great Yertle is King of the Jail
He’s serving consecutive terms, with no bail.

David Chariton