At 87

I can no longer say I’m 86 going on 87; I’m 87. It’s been a good year — 2014. My birth year and the calendar year almost match since I was born on January 7th.

I’m feeling fine, although I must admit to tiring more easily, and that I can’t walk as fast, or as far as I used to in my younger years. Both my cardiologist, and my internist said they don’t want to see me for another year. I’m going to try to hold them to that.

I treat every day as a holiday. They have been fun and productive.

Bernie order a crepe from the crepe truck at Erin and Grace's wedding.
Bernie order a crepe from the crepe truck at Erin and Grace’s wedding.

The big news is that my coworker, colleague and buddy, Erin Coyle, and her partner, Grace, got married. First on October 4th in DC and then again, a week later on the 11th here in North Carolina. Both ceremonies were fantastic and it pleases me to have helped make them happen. As it turned out, the second one was not necessary. The law had changed. Can you imagine that? Two beautiful, fine young women getting legally married to one another. Moreover, the marriage was recognized by both the Federal and the State governments. That never would have or could have happened when I was younger. Some things have changed.

Not all changes have been for the better. When I was growing up and moved to North Carolina in the 1940’s, it was the most liberal of the Southern States. Frank Porter Graham was the President  of University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill at the time. He later became our U.S. Senator and so did Sam Ervin. Last year, many who participated in our Moral Mondays were arrested in Raleigh, as the Federal and State governments have become more and more under the control of corporations and big money. The last time I checked, the Supreme Court said that corporations were “persons!” I thought “persons” had a heart. When I taught economics, the role of government was to rein in corporate excesses. That is my field. I promise, for now at least, I’ll get off my soapbox.

When I was growing up, the people who lived within the boundaries of any of the 48 — now 50 —States, were responsible for its governance and represented it at the federal level — not outsiders and outside money. Admittedly, governments as economic institutions have problems and imperfections. especially in periods of change. I can speak to that professionally. From a lay perspective, there are clearly political issues as well. Oh, I’m sorry. I promised I get off my soapbox. 87-year-olds forget!

In part, at least, those changes have caused me to shift my focus. I was focusing on a project called: The Imperfect Health-Care Market: Making it work for you. But healthcare is in the hands of the stakeholders, promoting their own self-interest, not those of the potential beneficiaries. What I have to say will not be heard by those who could improve the situation. 

Instead, along with Erin’s help, I am working on the economics of art and craft. Here’s some of the papers that are currently in the works:

    • An Economist’s Take on Pricing Art and Craft — A Pricing Manual

    • The Economics of Fine Art and Fine Craft

    • Behind Each Work of Art

The big news is that Erin and I have just published a book, called: The MiniBook: a Guide to Self Care. And this is only the first volume! It is a compilation of my sayings and the images Erin created to go along with them. For more about the book check out out our website. It has been well received. If you like what you see, we’d be glad to send you a copy of the book or prints of any of the images along with the sayings that turn you on.

And, of course, there’s always the blog. But you already know about it.

Welcome to the New Year — 2015

Peace and Love