From: cyrilsmith- at (Mr C Smith)

Economics and all that.

Dear Andy,

I liked your postmodern comments. One point you make, while no doubt secondary, is worth stressing: when all the bullshit has settled, mathematically-inspired economics turns out to get wrong answers even to its own questions. (A useful light on this is thrown by Paul Ormerod's amusing book 'The Death of Economics'.) Another secondary point is that mathematics itself is changing in some directions, as it tries to break out of its quantitative boundaries.

As you know, I suffer from a severe allergy to French philosophical jargon: I always fall asleep before I have read more than two sentences of the stuff. However, I am sure you are right to persevere with it, because it must be telling us about the latest phase of the development of world society. However, don't forget a major difference (or should that be differance) between these guys and K Marx. That old fellow's standpoint was always 'human society and social humanity'. He was never just describing interesting socio-historical phenomena, as if reporting on some biological research. The Postmoderns, as far as I can tell from my very limited knowledge (see above), are convinced that nothing can be done about the world anyway, apart from writing boring books. So any resemblance between their ideas and those of Marx are entirely coincidental.

(By the way, do you remember Roger Smith? He addressed a seminar on Film recently. Beset by savage hordes of postmodernists, deconstructing everything in sight, he succeeded in silencing them completely with the question: 'Yes, but did you enjoy the film?' They were amazed to hear that enjoyment had anything to do with it.)

Best wishes,