At the Zaccardi family reunion yesterday, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to chat with my idol “BG,” a 95-year-old former professor of economics at the University of Chicago who drives a cherry-red sports car and dates a woman 28 years his junior.
Among other things, we discussed travel, such as the trip I am currently on and the trip to Europe he’s taking next week. I told him that due to my irrational fear of flying, I drive everywhere I go (with rare exception). He rattled off statistics from various studies regarding the safety of air travel relative to that of road travel. I responded by reminding him that my fear was irrational and thus impervious to logic and evidence.
He changed the subject. We talked for another half hour or so, about Madison’s records on the Philadelphia Convention, about President Obama’s tenure on the Chicago faculty, and the state of the economy and economics education. It was, as always, enlightening and challenging.
And then he asked three questions:
BG: Do you believe me when I say that there’s a consistent long-term trend of economic growth, even during this recession?
BG: And when I say that the capital stock continues to grow over the long run?
ME: Of course.
BG: Then why don’t you believe me when I tell you about flying?
Touché. Being called out by a near-centenarian may do more to get me flying regularly than any study ever will.