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Deliver us from duelling dons

We all know much more about economics than we ever wanted to know. But in many ways, the world of economists remains a mystery to us. We vaguely suspect that George Lee used to be one, McWilliams is a class of one, with a killer smile, and there are a few others knocking around who mainly work for banks.

Oh yes, and there's also Alan Ahearne. While he used to be a college lecturer who was primarily known for his extra few vowels, he is now running the country.

In the last week we got a unique glimpse into the world of economics through the Nama wars -- or 'Calculators at Dawn: When Economists Attack'. We learnt for example that economists aren't very good at going to war with each other.

Take Professor Brian Lucey of Trinity College. When he circulated a letter attacking Nama to 250 economics lecturers around the country asking them to sign it, one of the guys he emailed the letter to was Alan Ahearne, Mr Nama.

This was the equivalent of Churchill emailing his strategy to Hitler and it led to the odd situation whereby Ahearne was able to take Lucey's attack on Nama to pieces before Lucey had even published his attack. And I know what you're thinking. You're still back at that sentence that says there are 250 economics lecturers in the country. I know.

We also learnt that economists don't seem to be very good at numbers. While less than 50 of the 250 -- 20 per cent -- agreed to put their name to Prof Lucey's letter, he pretty much claimed this as a result, saying that none of the 250 had disagreed as such, they just didn't want to get into a round robin.

And we learnt that economists are fairly thin-skinned. When Alan Ahearne methodically took Brian Lucey's letter to pieces in what seemed like a fairly calm way he was accused of personalised attacks. Now you and I know that a personalised attack on Lucey would be to call him fatty. But in the world of the economists, criticise a guy's approach to Nama and you hurt the very core of his being.

We knew things were getting out of hand when George Lee accused Brian Lenihan of being hysterical. Hysteria, as every economist will tell you, is something women suffer from, and it is the worst thing you can accuse someone in the economic world of, as it suggests their analysis of the world is not solely based on graphs. Besides which, George Lee calling you hysterical is a bit like Charlie Bird telling you that you haven't been very visible since you went to America.

All in all, we can only hope this Nama debate continues for another while yet. It's great to see all these nerds tearing each other apart during their once in a lifetime moment in the spotlight. Because, mark my words, as soon as all this is over, we're back to ignoring those boys.