Best article on the Treasury website?

Fortuitously stumbled across this while looking for something else. Arthur Grimes investigates the Arbee:

In his “Life Among the Econ” Axel Leijonhufvud took an ethnographic approach to describing the Econ tribe and, especially, two of its components: the Macro and the Micro. My purpose is to delve further into the life of the Macro, specifically examining the Arbee sub-tribe. The task of our research is to examine the nature of the Arbee reaction to claims by other tribes and sub-tribes that the Arbee rituals have caused The Imbalance in The Economy. Specifically, their highly formalised OC Ritual (OCR) has been blamed for creating The Imbalance … It is the rituals of the Arbee that many claim to be the cause of The Imbalance in The Economy. If only the Arbee were to conduct their ritual in a different manner, the prices, expenditure and living standards would all right themselves.

The OC Ritual is a highly stylised dance. The first move involves no actions by the priests, just observation of other dancers. The priests observe the effect on all prices that result from the bigfella man’s resource directives. The high priest has a contract with the bigfella man that price rises must be kept to within a certain sacred range.

Hilarious, yet serious, it’s worthwhile reading the whole thing. See Leijonhufvud for the background.

4 replies
  1. Matt Nolan
    Matt Nolan says:

    That article is superb – it gets better the further you get in.  The conclusion is beautiful:

    The logical difference between association and causation is well-known in the social
    sciences, but even today some cannot distinguish between the two. It is confusion of the two concepts that has led to the specific forms of the Melanesian cargo cult rituals. An
    observed association of the arrival of cargo with the prior ritual of donning a headset and
    speaking into a microphone was seen by local indigenous groups as connoting a causal

    Their mistake (according to external observers) is that they did not understand
    the fundamentals determining the production of the cargo, and they lacked “the practical
    knowledge and technical means to achieve their ends” in the absence of the ritual.

    Believing in a causal relationship between the observed outcome of the Aotearoans
    spending more than they produce (accompanied by a high level of The Real Exchange
    Rate) and the Arbee’s prior OC Ritual represents a similar confusion. The Imbalance is
    seen to be a result of ritual embodying strong magic. But the OC Ritual is only associated
    with The Imbalance, it is not its cause. Nor is the ritual responsible for the divergence of
    Aotearoan living standards relative to those of the West Island.

  2. peterquixote
    peterquixote says:

    now read this Matt, you will print two editions of everything, from now on, and marked clearly.
    Edition one.    for people who can understand difficult words
    Edition two   for rednecks and people who do not do academic jargon
    Understand Matt, it is difficult enough to read Eric, but you are out of the ball park, and its not fair, 

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