defendingDid you ever see the 1991 Albert Brooks movie Defending Your Life? A movie that clearly could not be made today because it includes neither super heroes nor special effects and isn’t a sequel, it’s about a schmo (Brooks) who dies only to find heaven has an entrance exam of sorts in which you literally defend your life. Well the other day I watched a very good TED talk by my friend Bob Litan in which he defended his entire profession — economics. I know no braver man.

Few of us would defend our professions. I’m a journalist — what is there to say about that except that being a Congressman is worse? Yet Bob Litan volunteered for this gig, which he does with remarkable energy for a guy the size of a meerkat.

Bob names names and shows us the huge effect specific modern economists have had on our technological lives — everything from Internet dating to how to efficiently end ad auctions. A lot of this I didn’t know and you may not have known, either. It’s a way of thinking far beyond Freakonomics that has changed the way we all live, whether we knew it or not.

How would you defend your profession?

Just a bit of housekeeping. Apple’s big product announcement is tomorrow and I’ll have a pithy commentary up shortly after that deals more with strategy than products. My IBM wrap-up for the foreign book editions will be here on Wednesday. Today over at my first-ever post will appear on that capitalist tool, though it will also be right here on Thursday. It’s going to be a busy week.