Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Signs of Rank and Status

With some frequency, we receive e-mails of the following nature at The University of Western Ontario:

The flag will be at half staff on [insert date] from 8:00 am to [insert time] in memory of [insert name], [insert position and rank] with [insert number] years of service.
It appears that the longer one worked here, and the higher the rank, the longer the flag is left at half-mast. The process of assigning different castes to different deceased employees is grotesquely insulting to the memories and survivors of those who have died.

My friend, BenS, says he knows his former colleagues will celebrate when he dies, and so he would like the university to lower the flag in his memory now, while he is still alive, so that he can participate in the celebrations.

BF has wondered whether a new hire who dies suddenly would have the flag dipped in his/her honour for ten seconds or so. Maybe I should hire a work-study student to collect data and estimate the decision rule that is used.
When I retire, I want my employer to dedicate a urinal in the Socionomology Department to my memory (but, like Ben, I'd rather hold a dedication ceremony now, while I am alive, so I can enjoy it, too). It turns out that the concept of "The John Palmer Memorial Urinal" is neither unique nor original.
This is all in sharp contrast to how Phil's Dad was memorialized.
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