Allen R. Sanderson

Allen R. Sanderson

According to the economist Allen R. Sanderson, writing in Chicago Life, about 40 percent of college graduates have taken at least one economics course and 5 percent have majored in it. Good news, you say? Maybe because you think that a clear understanding of the various flows of money can prevent our ever again having a crippling disaster like the Great Depression, or even a close encounter like what happened to us in 2008 again?

Maybe so, but the really bad news for economics professors, according to Sanderson, is that polls show that “there is no discernible difference in understanding basic concepts between those who have taken economics and those who haven’t.”

What economics teaches us spot on, nearly all the time, is how to use resources efficiently to maximize output. That’s probably a good thing if you’re a manufacturer and make a profit on every phoithboinder your plants turn out. Unfortunately for that view, most of us aren’t manufacturers, although maybe we work for the people who are.

We should pay close attention to the Occupiers, because what they want, they say, is simply fairness. Which economics does not measure.

And we might give an ear to old John Maynard Keynes, too, who said, “The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.”

Wouldn’t it be interesting if every college course in economics would allow now and then some random Occupier to tell them how money really flows, and what it accomplishes?

2 Comments

  1. Katja says:

    Allen Sanderson! The man from whom I have taken a college economics course! (An awesome teacher.)

    Thank you for this blast from the past.

  2. Keith Graham says:

    As the former editor of the magazine Astounding Tales and an amateur Science Fiction writer who has been selling SF for years, I have some ideas that may help you. I know what it takes to publish both print and online magazines, and I also know the markets.
    Success is measured in readers. You need readers or you will not be able to pay the basic cost of running an ezine. Not that there is much money at all in Science Fiction any more. The field is supersaturated. You have to pay the hosting fees, the domain fees and possibly you will need some help with the website and the technical aspects of putting stories in front of an audience. You might have to pay for people to format the magazine for print, web and ereaders.
    There are anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 active venues where fans can read science fiction free. Amazon lists 53,000 Science Fiction books on Kindle and at any given day, several thousand can be had for free download. You have to offer quite a bit to get any significant readership, and a very tiny percentage or readers will plunk down any cash.
    So how do you publish a Science Fiction Magazine?
    1) Open up to submissions. You will find that 90% of your readership will be aspiring Science Fiction Writers. (Turn over a rock on the internet and you will find a wannabe SF writer). Slush readers are volunteers, because they, too, are aspiring SF writers who hope that they can sneak a story in the back door in return for all the free work they do.
    The Print version of the magazine should feature one or two new stories alongside the reprints that pay pro rates. There should also be a “for the love” section on the website that does not pay, but writers will flock to it for the prestige factor.
    2) Include one pithy Campbell style essay, an Asimov style science essay, and reviews of games, comics and movies. Younger people don’t read traditional magazines, but SF is a big genre and you can draw them in with new media.
    In the online version, invite guest essayists in the way Steve Davidson at AstoundingStoriesMag.com has done.
    3) You will have to pay for quality artwork. Free artwork is almost exclusively done with a program called POSER, which features large breasted models with bland expressionless faces. The best artwork would come from the back pages of old magazines, if you could find who owns the rights. Line art is somehow appropriate to Science Fiction magazines and would provide the right nostalgic feel.
    4) Create a moderated BBS style forum where articles, stories, authors, politics and any sciencefictional topic can be argued or discussed. It must be moderated to keep the spammers, trolls and other idiots out, but it must allow for heated discussion and inflammatory topics.
    5) Web pages must contain advertising. Google AdWords will be your main source of income. Science Fiction does not work that well with advertising, though.
    6) There must be a Kindle/ePub version of the print magazine that users can subscribe. This works far better than print magazine subscriptions.
    This is a tremendous amount of work. Much is management. Much is technical. Very little of it is actually working with words. A good magazine will require up to a dozen people who have the specialized knowledge to keep it going.
    Keith P. Graham