Poem: Ceteris paribus

We continue our National Poetry Month challenge with another poem. The prompt this time is to choose a topic you never write about and write a piece on it.

For me, that was an easy choice. I’ve never wanted to write about my economics degree. Why would I?! It is, after all, the dismal science. And whatever my friend’s ‘Economists do it with models’ t-shirt might have to say, economics hasn’t been very sexy since 2008.

So finally, I’ve decided to air my dirty laundry about my time with economics because frankly, it needs to be taught a lesson or two in humility.

(for full appreciation of poem, I’ve hyperlinked some of the words to make the meaning clearer :).)

C E T E R I S    P A R I B U S

So abstracted, you left me.
My imperfections, assumed away
with models that could never
reflect my reality

because true causality? —

those irrational things
that you could never value
so were presumed to be of no value —

those emotional things
that made me tick,
made me human,

you never really understood,

always quick to explain away

problem of multicollinearity
problem of heteroskedasticity
problem that distracted and obstructed
our path to long-term happiness,

never once questioning
the antiquity of your own principles
of how the world really worked.

You were always so good
at inflating your ego
with elegant words,
my own set of preferences
for yours.

Stop being so risk averse, you’d say
Let the invisible forces guide you
to our equilibrium;
all I needed to do, was give in a little,
to reach a a sweet spot of satiation,
a steady state of equanimity
that held you and I
in perfect Pareto efficiency.

But in these exchanges,
I was never your equal
and despite your professed
interest in equity,
I could no longer ignore
that you never paid rent.

So determined, you left me
to be the black swan that wades
through the whiteness of your certainty,
my every shock to your system
only observed ex post facto.

Maybe then you’ll understand
that not everything can be
priced or traded off
that life can never be held constant
never be perfectly modeled or fully understood
that it is misleading to attach meaning
to the randomness that makes this world
makes life worth living.

Maybe then, you will see reality.



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