December 23, 2003

Christmas Enlightenment

Through her blog, Virginia Postrel points to a couple of her recent articles (subscription required to access the WSJ piece) on the economic implications of Christmas lighting.

This isn't the first time she has touched on the topic of Christmas lights (visit here and here and scroll down or search for "lights").

Her Reason piece highlights elegantly how global capitalism leads not only to more affordable lights for the retail customer, but also to a specialized service industry that installs professional lighting displays for people who are not necessarily the most affluent customers. The article concludes with a nod to the real benefits of free trade and the value of aesthetics:

"We mourn the loss of manufacturing jobs - 'real jobs' - and ignore growing aesthetic professions, from installing holiday lights and landscaping lawns to giving manicures and facials, from designing brochures to crafting granite countertops. "Yet in an advanced economy, in which competition is pushing the prices of goods ever lower and their quality ever higher, enhancing the look and feel of people, places, and things will become more and more important over time. Just as surely as the horsepower of a car engine or the warmth of
a blanket, the pleasure of twinkling Christmas lights offers real value."

I don't think I could wrap this up any better than that.

Posted by JohnL at December 23, 2003 01:47 PM
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