1975: Presidential Address Nabe and the Business Forecaster
Of all the phenomena that have mystified me over the years—and there have been many—one of the most cryptic is the Presidential Address delivered at annual meetings of professional societies—and some not so professional societies. Two questions invariably come to mind on those, fortunately, rare occasions when I am confronted with the Presidential Address issue: First, why is a society president, who presumably has been busy throughout his term holding down both this nonpaying job and a paying one, subjected to the burden of composing a farewell sermon? And, second, why is a paying audience of his peers, who presumably have come to the Annual Meeting to add either to their store of knowledge or to their store of pleasure, subjected to the burden of listening to his farewell sermon? Thus far, I have failed to come up with a satisfactory answer to either query. There is a widely accepted explanation, of course, to the effect that society presidents would not be society presidents if, before fading into limbo, they were not capable of preparing a statesmanlike set of remarks suitable for consumption by fellow members of the lodge. Oh, if only it were so! But you and I—and especially I—know that it is not. No, I suspect that the actual rationale is something closer to the following: Society presidents are forced to give Presidential Addresses as partial penance for their various misdeeds while in office, and Society members are forced to hear Presidential Addresses as partial penance for being foolish enough to vote such miscreants into office.
KeywordsIntellectual Capital Professional Society Presidential Address Business Economist Fellow Member
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- 1.Wade Green, “Economists in Recession,” New York Sunday Times Magazine, 5/12/74.Google Scholar