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Saturday, December 22, 2012

The priestly caste, Math Econ vs. the lower ranked Devlops

It's that time of the year to make fun of my chosen profession. From a published article in 1973, which is still somehow very true.
From the editor: Since many of our younger readers are, with the idealism so characteristic of contemporary youth, planning to launch themselves on a career of good deeds by going to live and work among the Econ, the editor felt that it would be desirable to invite an Econologist of some experience to write an account of this little known tribe. 
The Econ tribe occupies a vast territory in the far North... They are not without some genuine and sometimes even fierce attachment to their ancestral grounds, and their youth are brought up to feel contempt for the softer living in the warmer lands of their neighbors such as the Polscis and the Sociogs. Despite a common genetic heritage, relations with these tribes are strained -- the distrust and contempt that the average Econ feels for these neighbors being heartily reciprocated by the latter -- and social intercourse with them is inhibited by numerous taboos. 
...The Econ word for caste is "field." Caste is extremely important to the self-image and sense of identity of the Econ, and the adult male meeting a stranger will always introduce himself with the phrase "Such-and-such is my field."...The territorial connotation of "field" is somewhat entirely misleading for the castes do not live apart... In some cases, nearly every caste may be represented in a single dept. 
...The dominant feature which makes status relations among the Econ of unique interest to the serious student is the way that status is the way that status is tied to the manufacture of certain types of implements, called "modls." The status of the adult male is determined by his skill at making the "modl" of his field. The facts (a) that the Econ are highly status-motivated, (b) that status is only achieved by making "modls" and (c) that most of these "modls" seem to be of little or no practical use... 
...The priestly caste (the Math-Econ) for example, is a higher "field" than either Micro or Macro, while the Devlops just as definitely rank lower... The rise of the Math-econ seems to be associated with the previously noted trend among all the Econ towards more ornate, ceremonial modls, while the low rank of the Devlops is due to the fact that this caste, in recent times, has not strictly enforced the taboos against association with the Polscis, Sociogs, and other tribes.

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