January 20, 2008

Scarcity and attention to culture

The discussion of scarcity in chapter four left me feeling disjointed. There was an emphasis on scarcity and why those items that are scarce are more costly then items in abundance. Obviously this make sense, but his analysis of art and museums is where I began to loose him. I appreciated his honesty in the scarcity observations of time and attention, but that is where i feel he begins his tantrum. The truth is that time is a precious commodity especially in the United States. Time is prized by everyone and I think this is a legitimate claim in economics. Attention is also lacking, yes, but our attention to culture where does that fit? I was confused by his example of culture. The collection of expensive art versus inexpensive unknown art and the paucity of museums and its dependents.

This seems like a personal gripe not an economic principle. The understanding of time scarcity connects to how people choose to live. It is a battle to decide how much to work and how much to play. How much money we want or will sacrifice for free time. These principles I connected with. These explain scarcity. As does the explanation of why one of a kind art is so expensive.

However, the idea of attention to culture does not seem as clear. That seems more like a branch of leisure activity than an economic decision that will affect how much you work, or don't work. The discussion of the appreciation of art seemed distant. The chapter felt very disjointed to me and more of a rant by the author about his personal beliefs.

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