A VOODOO DOC­TOR IN THE HOUSE?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

On last Thurs­day’s TALK my guest was a lo­cal con­sul­tant who in his bios de­scribes him­self as “a Saint Lu­cian economist.” I pre­sume his in­ten­tion is to in­form the world he is a na­tive holder of a Doc­tor­ate in Eco­nomics—not that he spe­cial­izes in Saint Lu­cian eco­nomics!

In any event the two ma­jor branches of eco­nomics are micro­eco­nomics and macro­eco­nomics. The first men­tioned deals largely with the decision-mak­ing be­hav­ior of in­di­vid­ual con­sumers and firms in mar­kets, while the other fo­cuses largely on the ag­gre­gated be­hav­ior of all con­sumers and firms in an econ­omy. Both branches fo­cus on the laws of sup­ply and de­mand.

In ad­di­tion to th­ese two ma­jor branches, nu­mer­ous other sub­fields ex­ist in the eco­nomics dis­ci­pline. Many can­not be neatly cat­e­go­rized un­der micro­eco­nomics or macro­eco­nomics be­cause they uti­lize some tools and an­a­lyt­i­cal frame­works from both branches.

Some of the bet­ter-known sub­fields in­clude be­hav­ioral eco­nomics, en­ergy eco­nomics, game the­ory, health eco­nomics, wel­fare eco­nomics, la­bor eco­nomics, eco­nomic ge­og­ra­phy, de­vel­op­ment eco­nomics, in­ter­na­tional eco­nomics and in­for­ma­tion eco­nomics.

Bear­ing in mind Dr. Claudius Pre­ville’s cur­rent main mis­sion in life is to con­vince fel­low Saint Lu­cians he is the can­di­date best equipped to suc­cess­fully wres­tle into sub­mis­sion the eco­nomic mon­ster that has taken most busi­nesses down to their knees, if not swal­lowed them al­to­gether—and con­se­quently sent too many in­di­vid­u­als to early graves, lit­er­ally and metaphor­i­cally, I was sur­prised to dis­cover how sparse are Mr. Pre­ville’s bios in relation to his Doc­tor­ate.

Then again, why over ad­ver­tise when among the be­witched, bat­tered and be­wil­dered are many who truly be­lieve lo­cal econ­o­mists brought us where we are?

Although I in­tro­duced him to TALK view­ers last week as Dr. Pre­ville, I had half-jok­ingly also warned him on-air that I would be re­fer­ring to him dur­ing our tele­vised dis­course by name. I meant no dis­re­spect and in­deed it did not seem to me that my guest was the least bit af­fronted. Why should he have been? We’ve been long enough ac­quainted to ad­dress each other by our first names dur­ing tele­vised con­ver­sa­tions— which, to my mind, is what TALK is all about. (It oc­curs to me that I’ve never heard a TV in­ter­viewer ad­dress Dar­ren Sammy as Cap­tain Sammy. Nei­ther a beauty queen as Miss In­de­pen­dence . . .)

In any event imag­ine my sur­prise upon learn­ing some­one ob­vi­ously more gen­er­ous than I had called the host of a lo­cal ra­dio show to com­plain about how I had in ef­fect in­sulted my guest by re­fus­ing to ad­dress him as Dr. Which of course was a typ­i­cal ex­ag­ger­a­tion. For even though I was un­cer­tain about the de­tails of his Doc­tor­ate, I had in fact in­tro­duced him to my au­di­ence as “my guest Dr. Claudius Pre­ville.”

I should add that my ini­tial sur­prise evap­o­rated the minute I was in­formed of the com­plainant’s iden­tity: a no­to­ri­ous hag­fish and blink­ered life-long sup­porter of the Saint Lu­cia Labour Party whose leader, in­ci­den­tally, had en­cour­aged his red-frocked flock not to re­fer to the knighted for­mer prime min­is­ter and leader of the United Work­ers Party John Comp­ton as “Sir.”

Once Dr. Pre­ville had ac­cepted my invitation to ap­pear on TALK, I had spent some time with a book en­ti­tled The Pro­to­col School of Wash­ing­ton’s Honor & Re­spect: the of­fi­cial guide to names, ti­tles, and forms of ad­dress.

An in­ter­est­ing vol­ume it is, by Robert Hickey, as funny in places as it is se­ri­ous.

This is what the au­thor ad­vises on the ques­tion how to ad­dress a per­son with a PhD. “Hold­ers of Doc­tor­ates who work in academia or re­search in­sti­tu­tions use Dr. (name) pro­fes­sion­ally and so­cially. Thus a PhD in bi­ol­ogy do­ing re­search at the lo­cal univer­sity or lab prob­a­bly uses Dr. and every­body thinks it’s right.

“Hold­ers of aca­demic Doc­tor­ates who work out­side academia or re­search typ­i­cally don’t in­sist on Dr. Nei­ther a PhD in fi­nance at a Bank & Trust Company nor a PhD in Amer­i­can his­tory work­ing for Xerox is likely to in­sist on be­ing ad­dressed as Dr.” Ob­vi­ously, Hickey never heard of the House doc­tors on this Rock of Sages!

As for honorary-de­gree re­cip­i­ents: “They may be ad­dressed as Dr. (name) in cor­re­spon­dence from, or con­ver­sa­tion by, the grant­ing univer­sity. But not at other univer­si­ties, and not in their pro­fes­sional life off cam­pus. They may use the per­ti­nent post-nom­i­nal ab­bre­vi­a­tion for the honorary de­gree with the words honoris causa, to un­der­score the de­gree is honorary—not earned.”

“Honorary doc­tor­ates are listed as an honor or award on your re­sumé, rather than part of ed­u­ca­tion with earned aca­demic de­grees,” writes Hickey. “In a com­plete in­tro­duc­tion it would be stated that ‘Marc Cof­fey re­ceived an honorary Doc­tor­ate in (field) from so and so . . .’ It may be a great honor but it is not an earned de­gree.”

Speak­ing of which, re­mem­ber the Labour can­di­date for Soufriere in the 1997 and 2001 elec­tions? Even his cam­paign posters bragged about his Doc­tor­ate from a Cana­dian univer­sity. The ear­lier cited com­plain­ing en­gi­neer who last week con­ve­niently sought to build a moun­tain out of bull dung, per­chance it might tum­ble and bury me, was among the lead red-flag wa­vers who in­sisted back in the day that ev­ery Tom, ev­ery Dick and im­pres­sion­able party hack, the gov­er­nor gen­eral and school chil­dren too, show due re­spect for the ul­ti­mately dis­graced Soufriere politi­cian by al­ways ad­dress­ing him as “Dr. Wal­ter Fran­cois”—whose widely ad­ver­tised false Doc­tor­ate was nei­ther earned nor honoris causa.

Me­thinks I need say no more!

Dr. Claudius Pre­ville was Rick Wayne’s first guest on

his re­cently re­turned DBS show TALK!

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