Asimov -> Seldon -> Krugman -> ?

So I discovered, via Slashdot (of course) that the most recent Nobel Prize winner for work in economics, Paul Krugman, was inspired to study economics by the Isaac Asimov series, Foundation.

This is awesome!

I don't know very much about Krugman, but now I am going to do some reading. While a factoid like this may be frivolous, or even disconcerting to some, the idea that someone might be inspired by science-fiction, to me, might be the best judge of character. All too often it is clear that people are inspired by fame, money, or the pursuit of power itself. Some individuals' attest wanton claims of inspiration via general "hope" (what IS that?), which is such a generalized idol, that in my mind "saccarined" is surmounted as an adjective of choice by images of flames and animated corpse-gods.

Anyway, the idea that, in one's youth, one might read a fictional story containing a speculative idea regarding the way that human life works, and then, extract and abstract that idea as part of one's own personal life goals for the general betterment of humanity, is something that is not only very believable, but very humble at the same time. Rather than conceiving a pie-in-the-sky legend as causal dogma, this takes what is right in front of oneself, and infuses it with one's own creativity. This is nothing less than the most idealistic hopes of literature: to inspire readers to do great things and think great thoughts, using only the simple tool of words and ideas linked together.

So, Paul Krugman: what has Mr. Asimov inspired you to do? Well, the Swedish Academy of Sciences finds it worthwhile. So I suppose I'll look into it too, though only having a basic knowledge of economic theories. Paul Krugman's New York Times blog can be found here.

No comments: