A Neurotic in an Exotic Land; The Adventures of Professor Lucas

Here you will find some related writings (generally not as funny as the book) and a little info about the author, as well as an excerpt from the book.
The photo above should have been the book's cover!--and it
should be turned around!

All rights reserved.

Although some of the items I've now posted differ in their mood and style from the book itself, I am posting them here anyway because they date from roughly the time period in which the book was written--and, I believe they share a certain ambience with it. (note added 14 March 2010)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Once again: American Optimism and Slavic Fatalism....

If you would like to read my essay, "American Optimism Meets Slavic Fatalism"---read it as opposed to merely cite it as did (it would seem) a group of economists who have now replicated the earlier mis-citation by an economist.  (I knew they couldn't write; but no one ever told me they also cannot and do not read.....), you can find it at my Academia.edu site.  Look for me under my full name:  Mark J. Lovas

The article is not perfect, and I'm sure the relevant literature is far beyond what I managed to say. Yet, I continue to believe that the basics are there, and that they continue to be relevant as I listen to people playing the game of "essentializing" on the term "Russian"--behaving as if there were some common, timeless, and unchanging essence which the term "Russian " captures--a thesis which is both false, and for which my interlocutors have been unable to produce any sort of evidence.  (I do not count one's personal experience of communism/totalitarianism as proof of anything.  All experience can be misunderstood and itself requires analysis.)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

American Optimism Meets Slavic Fatalism and Mark "Locus" (sic)

Several years ago I published an article titled "American Optimism Meets Slavic Fatalism" in the Journal of Mundane Behavior.  The article has now been incorrectly cited twice.

The first time, the offenders also managed to change my nationality.  I've just discovered a second version of the mis-citation. AT  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1566014111000124

To repeat:  The author of the article "American Optimism Meets Slavic Fatalism" which appeared in the Journal of Mundane Behavior 2.3  is NOT "Mark Locus".  Its author is Mark Lovas.

Nor is its author an expert on the culture, language, or society of Central/Eastern Europe.
He was trained as a Philosopher, and the paper reflects it.  He presents arguments of sort for
thinking that Americans are wrong to label Czechs or Slovaks "pessimistic", without considering
their history and culture.  And, if we do the reverse sort of thinking about Americans, we might
think differently about their so-called "optimism". (Though in 2014 that may have already changed.)

Oddly enough, the most recent citation manages to import the neo-Classical economist's divide between the market and everything else (aka 'interfering factors').  And, so my essay gets re-interpreted in a way I'd never endorse.  If I had know that economists were going to be read the thing.... sigh.

One final point.  I've heard it said many times that economists don't know how to write.  This most recent experience leads me to wonder if they even know how to read.

If you'd like to read the actual article, you will find it at this site: