Want four opinions? Ask three economists…

Like at least 5,832 other people across the globe, my last cup of tea was a Darjeeling Sourenee SFTGFOP1 First Flush and my first of 2012 is a Nepalese Guaransee First Flush FTGFOP1.

How do I know there are at least 5,833 of us? The Mad Scientist we call ‘Economics’, and its misshapen and lisping assistant ‘Statistics’ tell us it is so. And Economists like my friend @teaconomics would have us believe it makes sense.

I’ve seen surveys where 400 people was considered “statistically significant”. So, I have surveyed 1.2 million people on this issue.

I live in Adelaide, where there are 1.2 million people. And I’ve asked them all. Well, to be completely truthful, I haven’t. I just couldn’t be bothered. I assumed that most of them would say things like “What?” or “Gura-what-now? “or “Mate, it’s 7:30 am New Year’s bloody day, piss off or I’ll set the dogs on ya”.

So I’ve assumed rightly or wrongly, that the whole lot said “No.”

I have now convincingly and statistically proven that AT LEAST 1 person in a HUGE sample of 1.2 million has bookended the NYE fireworks with that combination.

Now we know that there are 7 billion people, in the world, so extrapolating the numbers, we get 5833. Case proved. It’s exactly the sort of thing @teaconomics has been writing since he stole his name from a 2010 blog of mine.

But here’s where statistics and economics falls down. I’ve just poured a cup for Lady Devotea. This means she will have had EXACTLY the same tea combination, though in her case there was some sparkling red wine between them.

By pouring that tea, I have now COMPELLED another 5,832 people to match us, red wine optional. So all 11,666 of us are getting stuck in. That probably means that 2012 will be a very good year for the folks at Guaransee.

And let’s not talk about “standard deviation”. It makes as much sense as Donald Rumsfeld with a skinful and besides, my level of deviation goes way past standard.

When you think about all 11-odd thousand of us, blissfully sipping away, you realise that it’s not really many of us, is there? And even though economics does not help me with working out how many people will drink tea this year, I know where I will find them.

Tea Trade, and my Twitter friends; which is a group with many people in common, are my online homes of tea, and and many of you are like a second family to me, though without most of the petty squabbles and in the case of one entire side of my family, with less cars impounded for hoon driving. Quite a few less.

So 2012 will be our year, here on Tea Trade. I’ll get to meet many of you in person in Europe; and with luck, there might be other opportunities.

I’m writing this in 2012, though many of you are still in 2011, so I’ll put the kettle on and wait for you to get here.

6 thoughts on “Want four opinions? Ask three economists…

  1. I haven’t had any tea at all yet but I think I need some now. Happy New Year, Robert.

  2. Not sure what I think about all of what you’ve written here, but it seems like your beef is with statistics in general not economists.

    I am aware that statistics can often be manipulated to make whatever point you like, but I wouldn’t necessarily blame economists or economics.

    Although there are certainly plenty of other things we can ridicule the ‘dismal science’ about, I’d rather stay on the economists’ good side, thank you.

  3. “And Economists like my friend @teaconomics would have us believe it makes sense.”

    Sometimes it makes sense but most of the time, what is wrong is how we interpret them.

    I am also sorry to tell you that I doubt your little sample was good enough to allow you to extrapolate but don’t worry, no one will check.

    And to answer you, “Want four opinions? Ask three economists…” is more want four opinions? Ask one economist before, during and after a crisis 😀

    PS: I didn’t know you had written a post about teaconomics.

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