Thursday, July 26, 2007

Finally a reason to visit YouTube

This morning (bear with me) I read a column in the WSJ by Bush’s former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, R. Glenn Hubbard, about macroeconomists have shown that corporations don’t pay taxes, workers pay taxes. Not to take away from its accuracy (of which I have no direct knowledge), but it was about as predictable as the AARP saying they want to raise taxes on productive members of society so their geezer-supporters can have a more comfortable life.

Dr. Hubbard is now dean of the Columbia Business School, where he’s worked (except for the White House gig) since 1988. Little did I know that he would give me the first reason (ever) to recommend YouTube.

OK, so I’m outside the target demographic for YouTube, but even so, I haven’t personally seen any of the attraction that made Chad Hurley and Steve Chen each their first $300 million. But then I’m one of those who immediately flips the channel whenever “America’s Funniest Stupidest Home Videos” comes on, with its staged bicycle accidents, pet accidents and other intentional misfortunes.

Now Hubbard has made a number of appearances on YouTube, doing dry (translation: boring) professorial things like giving a policy speech last week at Google with fellow card-carrying economist Hal Varian. But his best video is the one he never made, that a fellow entrepreneurship professor called to my attention this afternoon.

Instead, a bunch of his students (including a look-alike impostor) produced a music video last year, in which “Hubbard” bemoaned his failure to get the most powerful economics job on the planet, that of Fed chairman. Apparently some guy who’s neither Paul Volker nor married to Andrea Mitchell got the job last year.
Covering one of my favorite songs by Gordon Sumner, the lyrics to the parody were obviously written by someone who at least passed Macroeconomics 101:

Every breath you take
Every change of rate
Jobs you don’t create
While we still stagflate
I’ll be watching you.

Every single day
Bernanke takes my pay
When growth goes away
Inflation will stay
and I’ll be watching you.
I’d quote more, but the fun is seeing how the parody plays out. So it’s interesting to see that YouTube can offer up humor that’s not sophomoric, just like eBay eventually became more than just an e-rummage sale. That’s the power of general-purpose platforms and network effects.

Hat tip to Norris Krueger

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Wanderlustrious said...

How great would it be if youtube took all of the young people away from MTV. Imagine a whole new generation of people thinking for themselves, and more open than ever to ideas of radical change in the interest of sound economic metamorphisis. I'm cool with that.

Hui said...

i am a regulor visitor of Youtube,although i am not young generation and did not believe it at all one year ago. still i think it is network effect, the more and more interesting and enriched content drive the most sturbbon people(like me) to have a look.