Post-Meltdown After-Action Report: The Housing Market, the Tasks of the Fed and the Treasury, and Economists' Reputational Bets
An Economic Theory of the Moral Sentiments

The Chapter on the Fall of the Rupee You May Omit...

It is a line that always gets a laugh:

Oscar Wilde, "The Importance of Being Earnest": MISS PRISM: ...Cecily, you will read your Political Economy in my absence. The chapter on the Fall of the Rupee you may omit. It is somewhat too sensational. Even these metallic problems have their melodramatic side.

It's from Act 2. The audience always laughs at the idea that there is anything in economics that could even possibly be non-boring enough to give a proper young Edwardian lady the vapours.

But there are always a few who are laughing out of a second-order effect--who are laughing at, not with, the audience because they are laughing at the fact that the audience is laughing.

You see, Miss Prism is telling nothing but the unvarnished truth: these metallic problems do have their melodramatic side. A good mania or a good crash causes as much reorientation of economic activity, as much redirection of people and their lives, as much elevation of groups that acquire power and as much degradation of groups that lose it as--well, as would normally require a good solid war (albeit, we hope, without the bloodshed).

Alas! There is no sign that Oscar Wilde understood that he was not just making but was the butt of the joke...