January 15, 2008

Highlight #1 of Tyler Cowen's Dioscover your Inner Economist

How to become a cultural billionaire....

Cowen’s chapter 4 brings up many ideas that I can relate to my own life. While reading I gathered a highlight in the text. The idea that I am relating to is when Cowen talks about art and how if we really think hard about it, it is not a necessity to live, however that some of us want to be cultural millionaires. This left me asking, “could I become a cultural billionaire?” Cowen states that “Our love of art is often quite temporary, dependant of our moods, and our love of art is subservient to our demand for a positive self-image.” While applying this statement to myself, I can see that music in the same sense is equivalent to the art Cowen is talking about. The music that I listen to day to day often depends on my mood, for example one day I might choose to listen to Nine Inch Nails because I am having a bad day and I want the music to emulate my feelings. Also the next day I might choose to listen to Neil Diamond because I am happy, Neil Young because I am feeling rebellious. I listen to this music because it makes me feel happy or sad dependant on my current mood. This is explained when Cowen says “many of our reasons for rejecting different music are purely identity-driven.” Cowen also brings up a valid argument that almost all genres have some good songs and some bad songs. I like how Cowen argues that we as society need to open up to many more styles and genres or art, movies, music etc…, and that we will grow with “cultural broadening,” and we will be further on the path to becoming cultural millionaires. The chapter still relates the costs of broadening our musical repertoires, which are valid points. If we sacrifice our current music selection to listen to new styles, we are in danger of changing our cultural beliefs and personal attitudes. For example, I can relate this to my life when I was a high school “metal and hard rock” guru, however when I got to college, I started listening to the older hippie generations’ music and in-turn learned about our nations past rebellious music selection. I consider myself to have grown in musical knowledge and emotional capitol… continuing my quest to become a cultural billionaire.

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