An MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology Collaboration: Abhijit Banerjee and Sarnath Banerjee


The premise of the project is that economists are too pompous. One reason we don’t get past the first sentence is that people shut their ears because they know they’ve heard these words. Many of the things economists say are probably relevant and useful, but we say it in ways that put off people. Many miles away in the southwest corner of the city in a circumscribed neighborhood Monty ponders under a dry tap. Sarnath really is an economist, he’s just managed to put a number of layers around him so that people don’t immediately run away when they see him The inhabitants of the city of Gates are linked together by their common dream that of possessing an extra bedroom. Abhijit knows, clearly, about greed. No, he’s not greedy I’m very greedy But he knows the general… he’s a blackbelt in economics. With this grant, Abhijit and I am collaborating to make an insubordinate theatrical lecture in which Abhijit speaks about certain guiding principles to understand water water crisis, water management. The lectures are about water but water is a context for the intersection of any number of forces in economics. Globalization, greed, rainfall, climate change, everything hits water. So water is a wonderful context for bringing together any number of these key ideas in economics. With this series of lectures, which have humor, imagination warmth, explanation, and a rich cast of characters who appear, as I said, and then reappear as if it’s like a soap opera being told, but by an economist. Art is how we construct new languages so in a sense, that’s at the core of what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to construct a new language for saying the same things. New languages have the function that they wake us up. I think that’s the… if we get there, that would be success. If we woke up people.

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