On Writing, Economics, and Writing About Economics

"The necessity in my interest in economics is because I am married and have seven children. Though the sums needed to raise them are often overstated, my experience is that they do cost money. “Economy” comes from two Greek words, oikos (home) and nomos (rule). While many of us tend to think of economics as involving titans of industry, IPOs, international deals, and world-scale decisions and players, economics in its original sense is all home economics.

This too makes me nervous. Johnson’s anonymity in the Rambler was also, according to his biographer W. Jackson Bate, because “he wished the purity of the work to be accepted objectively, without the personal comparison people are naturally eager to make between the writings of a moralist and his own life.” In writing regularly on economic matters, I suppose I open myself up to the question of whether my own finances are solvent. On that score, while I do not have any debts right now except for my mortgage, I am neither the billionaire nor the millionaire next door. That is no doubt due to financial mistakes my wife and I have made, but also to decisions we have made without regret in establishing the nomos of our oikos. We have never both worked full time (thus we have not spent money on full-time daycare for any of our children). While we were able to educate our children without tuition in a fine public charter classical academy for many years, its sudden awakening a few years ago forced us to begin paying out what is now the equivalent of a second mortgage to a very fine and seriously Catholic school. It has been worth it."