Thursday, October 2, 2008

So far so good

Economists are one of the few groups of people that understand human lives generally improve with time. I am reading a superb book called The Human Story containing the following poem at the end. The avant-garde of course would despise a poem that rhymes and is easy to understand, but I don't blog for the avant-garde! This poem is the best description of The Human Story I have read.

Maybe you might enjoy it too. Who knows, maybe even one of your students?

From Labrador to Coral Sea

Our lives were stunted, bleak, unfree.

We shared our huts with rats and fleas

And lost our children to disease.

(Our holy men would sigh and nod

and tell us, "That's the will of God.")

But then, with steam, vaccines, and votes,

Our fortunes rose like tide-raised boats.

We'd more to eat; drew breath more years;

Dethroned (or worse) our tsars, emirs;

Sent men and mirrors as our eyes

To search the black galactic skies;

And in our cells, till then unseen,

We found our Fates, our djinns: our genes.

The world's still cruel, that's understood,

But once was worse. So far so good.

--James C. Davis in Epilogue to The Human Story