Thanks to Will for passing this along.
Mankind missed a bet 2,000 years ago when no one thought to invest $100 or its equivalent in Roman coin in a certificate of deposit compounding at 2% a year forever. The principal balance today of this ungifted benefaction would come to the astounding sum of $15,861,473,276,036,900,000. That would be $2.3 billion, before tax, for every man, woman and child on earth. But the ancients bungled, perpetuating the problem of scarcity and leaving the way open for Sylvia Nasar to write her "Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius," a survey of economic thought from Charles Dickens to Paul Samuelson and beyond.
Economic genius would seem to be in short supply these days. On the say-so of economists, Congress has spent upwards of $1 trillion to "stimulate" an economy that remains unstimulated. The best economists are formidable intellects, as it goes without saying—Ben Bernanke was the spelling champion of South Carolina—but you begin to wonder if they know what they're talking about.