“Hello world!”…. and welcome to ‘The Uchumist’ blog!

Hello World,

I’m Al-Karim Lalani and this is my economic diary as I make my way through college life at Stanford. Now you may be wondering several things, for example: What do I mean by economic diary? What the hell does Uchumist mean? And why am I being a noob and starting the title of this post with ‘hello world?’ Well not to worry, I will answer all such ponderings.

Now let me deconstruct the phrase economic diary. By ‘diary’, I mean that I plan to talk about things that I see in everyday life, such as the antics of the kids that live on my hall, the injustices of college life or even how Costa Rican taxi drivers are smarter than other taxi drivers. By ‘economic’ I mean that I plan to explain all the interesting phenomenon that I observe through the framework of economics.

The inspiration for this blog came when I first saw one of my friends’ blog called “The Invisible Hand in Your Pants“. My sister is good friends with Phil, one of the authors of the blog, and I got to meet him this summer when he came to visit us at our home in Tanzania. Phil is a bad-ass and is even more humorous in person than he may appear to be on his blog. The idea is very similar, Phil writes about interesting things in his life and discusses it through an economic paradigm.

Now you may be wondering why I’ve called this blog “The Uchumist”, well before I tell you exactly what it means, let me describe the birth of the blog’s name. I really wanted to capture the essence of my blog in its title, and lets be honest, “The Invisible Hand in Your Pants” is an awesome name. How would I compete with that? (FYI: ‘The Invisible Hand” is an economic reference, Adam Smith coined the term)

Well I had a massive brainstorming session and these are some of the ideas I came up with:

I first thought an economic reference that was crude would be a good fit, so I came up with:

  • The invisible hand in your blouse – nah, too unoriginal
  • Animal spirits in the bedroom – no, too obscene
  • Animal spirits in the bathroom? – ok this is just disgusting

Then I decided on a name that was more fitting to describe my interests and still had some sort of economic reference:

  • The tea-time economist – I love chai! But this isn’t very inspiring
  • How I met your trader – I am a huge HIMYM fan, but still not fitting
  • the eCON-artist – I thought this was rather clever, but no!
  • Chickenomics – three of my friends suggested this (by simultaneously screaming it in the hallway)
  • Snickeromics – my sister suggested this, as you can see the quality of names was getting worse…

So at this point I decided to hold off on the name and let it marinate in my head. In the time that passed, I asked a few people for ideas when I finally heard a good one. My econ TA actually pointed out that I could relate it to Uchumi – which is economics in Kiswahili (which is Swahili for non-Kiswahili speakers). Its pronounced ‘oo0-chumi’, now say it faster, ‘oo-chumi’, yes thats right. For lack of a better name, I thought I might as well call my blog the uchumist blog – which is a hybrid word that I have coined and I intend for it to mean “the economist”. I think it is fitting to call this blog-diary of a Tanzanian pseudo-economist, “The Uchumist”.

So there you have it, I hope this answers all important questions. For more questions, leave a comment. And keep checking back to this blog, more is yet to come!

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About alalani
I grew up in Tanzania and now I'm a student at Stanford!

4 Responses to “Hello world!”…. and welcome to ‘The Uchumist’ blog!

  1. RU says:

    That’s why I heard people screaming “CHICKENOMICS”!!! Clever blog name AK. I’m surprised you don’t have an on-screen identity…

  2. Daniel says:

    chickenomics +1

    But your new name makes a lot more sense. blog more!

  3. Arzoo! says:

    hey, do you want to major in economics?

    • alalani says:

      yes zoo! at least I think so, i need to do one final scan of the majors list and make sure there is nothing else i’d rather do

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