Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas kills babies

How exactly is Christmas supposed to help economic growth? There's a fallacy for you. Supposably if I go into a shop, purchase goods at random and throw them off a cliff, I've created economic growth. It's almost like the Full Employment Fallacy: paying people to do jobs that don't get anything done is supposed to be helpful. It's what bureaucrats are for anyway: deadweight loss.

Whenever you buy a present for someone else, it's usually a lot worse than what they could have bought with the money instead. It's completely irrational. Giving should be about redistribution of wealth, not destruction of wealth. Most of the presents I recieve at Christmas do just that: destroy resources, since I sure as hell won't use them. This is because it's an even greater sin to give your Christmas presents away, so you have to let them sit around rotting.

Since Christmas is confusing in itself, why not give confusing gifts? Giving them something they want, a waste since they could just buy it anyway. Give them something they don't want is even more of a waste. But giving them something odd, something that makes them go "WTF?" (The $2 Shop is good for this: plenty of badly translated, and in some cases, very baffling goods) can be insanely worth it. In order for Christmas to be worthwhile, the reactions expected from the giving have to have greater value than the waste.



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