Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Data

An interesting little tidbit from http://mises.org/daily/3953

It also turns out that Christmas in America is not all that commercialized compared to other nations. We are the 21st lowest in spending out of the 31 OECD countries; and we spend only $3 of every million dollars of GDP, ranking us the 6th most Scrooge-like country of the 26 major economies. Since 1935, Christmas-related spending has been reduced by 50 percent (when adjusted for inflation and GDP). We spend more, but Christmas spending is actually becoming less important in the bigger scheme of things.

Kent comments:

So why does Christmas seem so overly commercial?  Here are a few thoughts on that and some other matters.

First, even though we are 21st on the list, that is a ‘rich list’ so that’s still a lot of money devoted to Christmas stuff.  (By the way, this OEDC appears to be one of those innumerable international coagulations of people who milk governments for money to tell them how to try to implement command-and-control economies.)

Second, Christmas probably impresses us as more commercialized than it in fact is simply because of the extent of marketing devoted to it.  At least two full months of Christmas advertisement, plus ‘black’ shopping days and ‘gray’ shopping days and so on cannot help but start ideas about commercialism dancing in our heads like Christmas sugar plums.  (I find some Christmas TV ads very entertaining.  My favorite this year is the clinking glasses of beer that clink out a Christmas tune.  And I don’t even much enjoy beer!)

Third, the adjusted-for-inflation decrease since 1935 probably reflects a decrease of the influence of the Christian faith since then.  Christmas will probably tend to be a bigger deal when Christ is a bigger deal with more people – like it or not.

Fourth, I thank God that I live in a time and place where – for the time being at least – people are free to make money and ‘go nuts’ on black Friday and other maniacal shopping times if they wish.  That same freedom means that the rest of us can be self-restrained in these matters.  In my opinion, the second greatest freedom after freedom from the penalty and effects of sin is political-economic freedom.  You can’t wrap that one up and put it under a tree, but it’s the second greatest gift of all.