Arts critic Matt Trueman follows a group of artists into the Economics department as part of the This_Is_Tomorrow project and finds that the ‘allocation of finite resources’ is as much about money as it is about drama, trust and emotion.
“Economists don’t eat pastries; they have “morning goods” instead. A stack of them – muffins and mini-croissants and fruit Danishes – sits on a table next to the obligatory iron coffee pot and yet another bowl of UHT milk sachets.
“This is the other side of This Is Tomorrow: serious eating and drinking. Every night, after a whirlwind day of big ideas, there’s a hefty three-course meal with a selection of academics we’ve met that day. Three days down the line and the worry is that both our brains and our stomachs might burst.
“However, these dinners aren’t merely cavalier indulgences at which taxpayers’ money is scoffed and guzzled. They’re also a crucial part of the whole process. It’s here, at the dinner table more than in the department, that the day’s ideas start to concretise, conversations begin to flow both ways and laughter – more of a social lubricant than even alcohol – gets shared.”