New Trend in Spending

Article in today’s NY Times called The New Trend in Spending talks about how “the good life may be better lived by doing things than by having things.” Excerpts:

We spend too much of our income on restaurant meals, entertainment, travel and health care and not enough on refrigerators, ball bearings, blue jeans and cars….

Restaurant meals have changed, too. More and more of their value comes not from the nutrition and dishwashing services – function – but from the experience the restaurant provides. We don’t go out to eat just to avoid cooking. We go to enjoy different cuisines in pleasant environments….

This result sounds both logical and humanistic. It’s consistent with economic theory. But translated into economic life, it disrupts cherished assumptions. In the popular imagination and the political debate, making things is “real” work. Providing experiences is not. Analysts assume that working in a factory is a good job and working in a hotel is not.

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