Once upon a Professor: the Christmas Debate Story, by William Easterly: Once upon a time, four Professors met to agree upon a Christmas Gift Policy. ‘Twas fortunate for the world that they met thus, for they were the world’s foremost Gift Experts.
Professor A said he already knew what everybody wanted, and wanted to massively increase financing for the International Fund for Christmas and Development, which will come up with a comprehensive plan for all the complementary technical inputs to deliver the correct gifts to all individuals.
Professor B was worried about the lack of child security inside homes, and wanted a G8 rapid response force to intervene and take custody of the children, after which their needs for Christmas gifts will be identified and met.
Professor C called for a randomized trial of the leading 3 types of Christmas gifts, relative to a control group who received no gifts. The results will not be available in time for December 25, so Christmas should be postponed until the results are published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Professor D said that Christmas gifts never gave people what they really wanted, money spent on Christmas gifts was always one hundred percent wasted, and each person should just buy their own Christmas gift for themselves.
The Professors’ fierce debate went on and on, deep into the wintry night, whilst the fire burned low.
Meanwhile, unaware of the debate, individuals around the world went ahead and bought gifts for their loved ones based on nothing other than emotions and guesswork.
And everyone was happy, except perhaps the four Professors.