Last week, Dean Baker wrote More Thoughts on Patents and Copyrights. In it, he mentioned that it wasn’t just a matter of how long a copyright was; its scope can be even more harmful to the free market. For example, it isn’t just that J. K. Rowling’s books will be under copyright protection for at least 95 years. She can also prohibit derivative works. For example, Baker notes that he couldn’t come out with his own book, Harry Potter Becomes an Economist. That got me thinking…
Sure, we can’t use “Harry Potter.” But what about “Perry Hotter”? It does seem to me that the economics profession is every bit as mysterious as wizardry. Instead of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, it would be the Hogwash School of Chicanery and Subterfuge. Or just the Chicago School of Economics. I’m just brainstorming here. I’ll leave the details up to Baker.
I was also thinking that instead of being a single book, it should be a series. I don’t know why, but seven books seems about right. I’ve got a tentative list of titles:
- Perry Hotter and the Economic Stone Age
- Perry Hotter and the Chamber of Lies
- Perry Hotter and the Prisoners of Austerity
- Perry Hotter and the Goblet of Cash (This volume introduces sub-villain Henn Glubbard.)
- Perry Hotter and the Order of the Bankers
- Perry Hotter and the Half-Baked Principle
- Perry Hotter and the Deadly Hollers
I think we’ve got a winner here. The only question is who we use for the Lord Voldemort character. I have a lot of good ideas, but unfortunately, most of them are still alive. Milton Friedman seems like an obvious choice, but despite all the damage he did, he was a pretty good economist. Of course, that’s the thing about economics: you can be great at the art and yet use it for evil purposes. That’s why Alan Greenspan jumps out (not dead, but cadaverous enough for the part), but I don’t think anyone has ever thought of him as a great economists. One doesn’t have to be great to do evil. And then there’s the question of the name. Lord Voldespan might work, but Lord Friedmort has more pizzazz.
I’ll leave all the details to Baker. But I’m really looking forward to reading these books!
 Yes, I am aware it produces some fine economists. But recently, major “freshwater economists” seem more involved in apologetics than science.