Haiku Writers Know …

Congratulations to Sophie, the runaway winner of the economic haiku contest, for this beautiful composition:

Haiku writers know

The opportunity cost

Of a syllable.

Sophie not only wins Freakonomics schwag, but also the right to post haikus on the Freakonomics blog whenever she pleases.

As is often the case when the prize is so great, this contest was rife with controversy.

A number of readers complained that it was unfair that the order of the six finalists in the contest was held constant; had the haikus been randomized, each reader would have seen them in a different order.

The New York Times web people tell me that feature will be available on our blog in the year 2074.


@LiaStarLight; @Tim - Thanks so much! I hope you both got as much of a buzz out of this as I did.

@WholeMealOfFood - If I tried to turn "Nor seasonally adjusted" into eight syllables, you would rightly call me out on putting on a dreadful fake American accent.



As a card-carrying economist, I'm thrilled to see a friend win.


"Nor seasonally adjusted." is eight syllables.



Pay no attention

To the tears of the losers




Neither orderly

Nor seasonally adjusted.

Joy undiminished!


WholeMealOfFood ~ 8 if one says "see son al lee"

7 if one says "see son lee"

both are said by Global Folk..


Lebombo, seriously? Are you an unhappy person in general or just when reading blogs?

I wrote the first contest entry (I like cake) and even I think Sophie is the clear winner. Congratulations!


Congratulations Sophie!

C. Coop

The reason the mouse haiku evokes such emotion is because it identifies a universal feeling- the idea that if not for this or that everything would be perfect. (And yes, mentions scarcity)

The winning haiku only applies to, well, the people voting on this blog. Just goes to show, pandering to an audience is always the smart move. (It got me!)

Heavy D

The haiku contest

Sophie benefited from

recency effect


I can post haikus.

Ha! See? I'm doing it now!

I envy the schwag.


Schwag is one thing, sure,

but she can post anytime?

I should've entered!


Congratulations, Sophie!

I have not written a Haiku in 12 years, but here is my newest creation, inspired by a proverb my Chinese friend told me. "Quiet fart, very stinky"

Oh dear mighty quiet fart

Released without a ripple

But always very stinky


Well done Sophie!

Dave Metz

I'm sure one of the brilliant readers could make a page on one of the survey websites that had all of the haikus (randomized order, of course) and where people could vote. For the future, that is.


sophie won it all

regardless of order whining

justice trumps chaos


"The New York Times web people tell me that feature will be available on our blog in the year 2074."

That's assuming the Y2K38 bug is fixed by then. :-)

Lebombo Bone

Haikus are characterized by, among other things, a seasonal reference. I'm struggling to detect one in the winning submission.


Congrats, Sophie. Wonderful work.

And "boooo" to Lebombo @1 for starting off the comments with an unfortunate snipe at Sophie. Nor is the comment correct; haiku have evolved, in both Japanese and American forms, to support a broader canvas of ideas.


Congrats Sophie! And thank you Steve for calling out #1.