Dear Friends:

I encountered this quotation.
"There are three kinds of economists. Those that can add, and those that
can't."
By Hamish McRae

I have just two kinds here and looked for the original to find the third kind, but I found this article.

“The governor of the Bank of England began an address to an assembly of bankers with these words: ‘There are three kinds of economists, those who can count and those who can't.'” A joke of this kind would be met with incomprehension by French listeners. It is not logical.
Source: The Economist, Dec 18th 2003 issue
Title: French humor, Very Droll

So this must be a joke, and I thought it over.
My conclsion is;
Those that can add, and those that can't. Plus a real economist, that is, the author.

Am I right? Or do you have another interpretation?

Kanjin
1 2 3
Hi, Kanjin,
I don't know this joke but your question provoked me to search the Intenet. I found a short article discussing the differences in the way British and French people think:

"A French Cartesian mind does not know what to make of a nonsensical story, such as this one. “The governor of the Bank of England began an address to an assembly of bankers with these words: ‘There are three kinds of economists, those who can count and those who can't.'” A joke of this kind would be met with incomprehension by French listeners. It is not logical."

So the three-kind story appears nonsensical to some cultures. For Brits, the joke here is that only two kinds are mentioned. That's cute! Emotion: smile I really love British humour!
Dear Miche:

Thank you for your kind reply.

I am not a "French Cartesian mind," but don't still get it, as I am not a Brit.
I know it is silly to ask why a joke is funny, but really want to figure out this one.

"There are TWO kinds of economists, those who can count and those who can't."
This would be a better joke to me.

"There are three kinds of economists, those who can count and those who can't."
This is just confusing, and makes me think what the third category is.

Kanjin
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Kanjin, You have'nt got the joke here. There are just two kinds of economists. The narrator belongs to the type who can't count.Cheers.
Thank you, Mr./Ms. Guest.

Well, I have not yet even after reading your post.
You said the narrator belongs to the type who can't count. All right. I accept there are just two kinds in fact. It does not solve my problem, however, because the joke does not make me laugh. Why is it funny, if the narrator is the kind who can't?

Kanjin
As 'Guest' said, the narrator is putting himself in the 'can't count' category.

It is funny because the line "There are three kinds of Economists..." leads you to expect three categories,but the fact that only two are supplied is confusing. When you realise he's categorised himself by only giving two categories, that's funny. What is also appealing about the joke, is that the narrator is being self-depracating.

But you won't find it funny if you've had to have it explained. Jokes are only funny when you 'get' them without having to analyse them, so better luck with the next one.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Thank you, aeon, for your explanation, but I still don't get it. However, I will not agree to this; Jokes are only funny when you 'get' them without having to analyse them, so better luck with the next one.

I believe some ways to make a reader or a listener understand a joke.
Let’s take an Irish joke as an example.
Why do Irish dogs have flat noses?
Because they chase parked cars.

It took quite some time to figure it out. I could understand it, if anyone explained this way; it implies that Irish dogs should be stupid in this context, they chase a parked car, hit it and get a flat nose.

I know I may irritate some of you, but I am eager to grasp it. Would anyone be kind enough to take some time to educate me?

Many thanks in advance.
Kanjin,

It's really common for us english to make disparaging remarks about the irish in that context.

If you read them at face value they do not make sense, and this is what makes them funny.

It is funny that the dog tries to chase a static obect, because it is IMPOSSIBLE to chase it! This makes the dog stupid, which is a remark often made by the english about the irish.

We english often have a strange sense of humour!

Please note my own grammar is possibly poor, spelling is my strong point!
Sort of like....

There are two sides to every story........and then the truth. Emotion: smile
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