Noah denkt™ -
Project for Philosophical Evaluations of the Economy
Meeting with University of Chicago Professor Luigi Zingales
Dialog with the Alter Ego, first drafted on March 22, published on March 23, 2010
Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): What has Noah denkt™ been up to recently?
Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): We have been on the road and we had a meeting with finance professor Luigi
Zingales from the University of Chicago. (The meeting was on March 16, 2010, in his office in Chicago.)
AE: That’s interesting. What was the meeting about?
Nd: Well, we wanted to introduce our project to him and ask for an endorsement of our work. After all, we do need
the benediction of a recognized authority in order to gain more credibility in the marketplace.
AE: And, why specifically, did you turn to Professor Zingales, to get this endorsement?
Nd: Prof. Zingales appeared to be perfect fit for us. He is a leading expert on finance; he has co-written a book
whose title is “Saving capitalism from capitalists” (See also our own philosophy of capitalistic existentialism); he has
criticized the recklessness of executives in the financial industry (Check out what we say about this); he has come out
against the earlier bank bail-out (see our own stance on this); and what’s more he is from the University of Chicago,
and so he favors private sector initiatives over government interference (Take a look at our own proposal for financial
AE: Okay, there clearly are some reference points between your and Prof. Zingales’ views. So how did the
Nd: Well, Prof. Zingales duly listened to our presentation of Noah denkt™ but when it came to explaining the
wisdom of a Golden Rule business strategy he felt that this was too philosophical for him and that it would not
coincide with his own approach. In fact, he suggested that a proposal like ours might be better suited for divinity
school than for a business project.
AE: How exactly did you explain the money making capacity of a Golden Rule business strategy to him? Is it
possible that your argument wasn’t clear enough?
Nd: Perhaps we could have done better. We could have told him that a mind who submits himself to a Golden
Rule thinking is better able to find a sustainable balance in his financial judgments; we could have pointed out
that a Golden Rule thinking forces its followers to go the extra mile when analyzing investment opportunities, that
it helps them to get to a deeper understanding of the issues and that they thereby can better differentiate
between a true value added and a fake one. Instead we told him that a Golden Rule thinking requires a more
profound de-construction of one’s own thinking; that this in turn helps to be more at peace with oneself, and that
all this is an indispensable prerequisite to developing the best possible intuition about the future course of the
AE: So why didn’t you put it the way you did just now? Why did you focus instead on the contemplative quality of a
Golden Rule strategy? After all, you should have known that business school thinkers tend to have a more
empirical approach to things.
Nd: Well, we should have known that. But then again, you are always as good as your audience is. In other words,
we doubt that it would have made much of a difference whether we had said this way or another. In the end, it
seems to us as if Prof. Zingales was never really open to what we had to tell him.
AE: Why do you say that? After all, he did agree to meet with you. And what’s more he even asked you some
meaningful questions, didn’t he?
Nd: True and we are grateful to him for spending some of his precious time on us. But in hindsight we still have
this nagging feeling as if the meeting was doomed to fail even before it had started. We say this because he had
neither bothered to read our introductory email to him, nor had he taken a look at the links that we had provided
him with, nor did he have the faintest clue as to how to get to our web page.
AE: So why then did he meet with you in the first place?
Nd: Perhaps, he agreed to do so, because his assistant did such a good job in getting us this appointment. And if
we haven’t done so yet, we would like to thank her again for the wonderful support she has given us.
AE: What then is it that you take away from this experience?
Nd: Well, it was interesting to see the Hyde Park Campus of the University of Chicago. It was interesting to see a
faculty office at that University. And it was also important to get a final confirmation on the fact that business
school and entrepreneurial thinking (in the way Schumpeter understands it) aren’t necessarily one and the same.
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