The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 9, 1996 · Page 5
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 5

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Salina, Kansas
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Wednesday, October 9, 1996
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Page 5
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THE SALINA JOURNAL NEWS WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1996 AB V NOBEL PRIZES Economists with odd ideas awarded Theory says we all base our decisions on selective information By The Associated Press NEW YORK - A U.S. economist with unorthodox ideas — among them that "it's insane to try to balance the budget" — shared the Nobel economics prize Tuesday with a British professor. William Vickrey, professor emeritus at Columbia University, and James Mirrlees of Cambridge University in England were cited for explaining how governments as well as consumers use incomplete data to make decisions. Vickrey and Mirrlees will split the $1.12 million prize for innovative studies on "asymmetric information." The theory, used to explain human behavior, refers to the way in which everyone — from governments and giant corporations to small businesses and consumers — makes decisions based on varying kinds and amounts of data. Traditional economic theory held that all sides had the same information but different preferences, which influenced decision- making. "Asymmetric information" means one side knows something another side else doesn't. A person seeking medical coverage may have health problems, but the insurer won't know it. A buyer won't know as much about a used car as the seller. And government doesn't know the earnings abilities of taxpayers. Although Vickrey and Mirrlees conducted separate studies decades apart, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden, said their work led to a better understanding of economic activity, including tax pro- T ROYAL HOAX MIRRLEES VICKREY grams, auctions, insurance and credit markets. "It's very gratifying, ... very warming," said Vickrey, 82, a naturalized U.S. citizen and native of Victoria, British Columbia. "I was amazed," said Mirrlees, 60, a native of Scotland. He told reporters at Cambridge he was skeptical when he got the call from the academy. "I wanted to make sure I wasn't being teased," he said. The annual prize is the third of the six Nobels to be awarded this year. The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science is awarded by the Swedish Central Bank in honor of inventor Alfred Nobel. Vickrey told reporters he intends to use the windfall to "make- the most of the opportunity to keep spreading some of my heretical ideas." He has gone against popular wisdom by advocating the government take on more, not less, debt. "The insane pursuit of the holy grail of a balanced budget in the end is going to drive the economy into a depression," he said. A bigger national debt, he said, will help those saving for retirement. "The great increase in longevity has produced a surge in the desire to accumulate assets for retirement," he said. "It has outpaced the ability of the private sector to produce assets, so we need a larger government debt. ... It's insane to try to balance the budget." Expose of Diana unveils tabloid hoax Actors unknowingly depicted Diana frolicking with instructor By The Associated Press LONDON — She was tall, blond, fit and up for a little horseplay with the riding instructor — or at least his lookalike. But she was not Diana. Britain's best-selling tabloid, the Sun, was seeking shade on Tuesday after revealing that a 20-minute video purporting to show Princess Diana stripping and playing around with former lover and riding instructor James Hewitt was a hoax. The paper's editors had spent the day vigorously arguing that publishing lurid outtakes of the Diana doppleganger flashing a black sports bra at the faux-Hewitt was in "the public interest" because it raised issues of privacy violations. But by evening, it was sulking and claiming it was a victim of the "hoax of the decade." The two actors were hired months ago from a west London modeling agency that specializes in doubles for the royals and their various paramours, the Sun reported today. Independent Television broadcast the original color, close-up video — edited for the Sun to blurry black-and-white seemingly shot from a distance. The original color video had been obtained by the Sun's competitor, The Mirror, which determined it was a hoax. The actors, who seem hesitant and The Associated Press Princess Diana leaves an AIDS center Tuesday. She recognized the tabloid's spread as a hoax. embarrassed, were told they were performing for a television skit. The Sun emblazoned its Tuesday editions with the scenes of actress Nicky Lilley riding the actor's back, kissing him passionately and stripping off her sweatshirt as he gazed at her, smiling. Throughout the day, Sun editor Stuart Higgins said he had a higher purpose in mind in publishing the outtakes. 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