The Quantum Pontiff

Intergalactic Planetary

Paul Krugman proves that not only is a bad ass economist, but that he is also a pretty cool guy:

Thirty years ago I was an oppressed assistant professor, caught up in the academic rat race. To cheer myself up I wrote — well, see for yourself. Joshua Gans of the University of Melbourne scanned a copy of the thing I wrote — back then academics did their work with typewriters, abacuses, and stone axes — and was good enough to send me a copy. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Theory of Interstellar Trade.

I wonder what the equivalent of that paper is for quantum computing? Oh, wait, ALL our theory papers are like “The Theory of Interstellar Trade.”


  1. #1 Mathew
    March 15, 2008

    The link to the pdf is broken

  2. #2 David Meyer
    March 15, 2008

    One of my roommates in grad school was in the economics PhD program at MIT, some years after Krugman. I remember him showing me this paper as (additional) evidence (beyond his own familiarity with Godel’s theorem and some general relativity)
    that economists actually know some math and physics.

  3. #3 Dave Bacon
    March 16, 2008

    I remember a math prof at Caltech telling me they sent a survey out to all departments asking what should be covered in the basic math courses. The economics department sent back “integrating on banach spaces.” 🙂

  4. #4 David Meyer
    March 17, 2008

    Yes, I’m often bemused when I attend a microeconomic theory seminar at the kinds of real analysis details the speaker spends time on. Not because I’m not really interested in them, but because exactly which continuity conditions the utility function satisfies seem so unlikely to be relevant to economic scenarios in the real world.

    Of course, I’m quite willing to believe that physical spacetime is discrete at the smallest scales, so I’m predisposed to bemusement at real analysis details.

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