Macro-economic models

The New Zealand-born economist, Bill Phillips, is best known for identifying an empirical relationship between a country’s inflation rate and its unemployment, the so-called Phillips curve.  However, before becoming an economist, Phillips had been an engineer, and in 1949 he built one of the first models of a national economy, the MONIAC.  MONIAC used flows of coloured water to represent money flows through an economy, and perhaps explains (or is a reflection of) traditional economics’ obsession with distinguishing stocks from flows.
In the 1970s, the Australian cartoonist Bruce Petty also built a physical model of a national economy, but this time with seats for several human operators, representing variously The Government, The Unions, Big Business, etc.   Instead of the hydraulic flows used by Phillips, Petty’s model used mechanical levers and pulleys, which impacted in convoluted ways on the machine and on the other operators.   This model looked something built by Heath Robinson or Rube Goldberg, and was immense fun to watch it at work.   I’ve not yet been able to find a video of Petty’s model at work.

A cosmopolite in a cafe

One of O. Henry’s short stories has a character who refuses to say where he is from:

“I’ve been around the world twelve times,” said he. “I know an Esquimau in Upernavik who sends to Cincinatti for his neckties, and I saw a goat-herder in Uruguay who won a prize in a Battle Creek breakfast food puzzle competition.  I pay rent on a room in Cairo, Egypt, and another in Yokohoma all the year round.  I’ve got slippers waiting for me in a tea-house in Shanghai, and I don’t have to tell ’em how to cook my eggs in Rio Janeiro [sic] or Seattle.  It’s a mighty little old world.  What’s the use of bragging about being from the North, or the South, or the old manor house in the dale, or Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, or Pike’s Peak, or Fairfax County, Va., or Hooligan’s Flats or anyplace?  It’ll be a better world when we quit being fools about some mildewed town or ten acres of swampland just because we happened to be born there.”

Of course, this being an O. Henry story, the guy later gets into a fight because someone criticizes Mattawamkeag, Maine, the dorp where the guy is actually from!
O. Henry: “A cosmopolite in a cafe”, pp. 11-15, The Four Million. The Complete Works of O. Henry, Volume 1. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1953.)