deadweight loss

Perhaps if I had a chance to read this 2 or 3 years ago I could have passed microeconomics the first time. 

You talk in the book about the concept of "deadweight loss" and how it applies to holiday spending. Can you explain that?

A deadweight is a loss to one party that's not a gain to someone else. Normally if I spend $50 on myself it's for something worth at least $50 to me. If I spend $50 on you, and I don't know what you like or already have, I could buy something that's worth nothing for you. That's a loss. The average difference in gift satisfaction between the giver and recipient is about 20 percent.

Taken from an interview on salon with Joel Waldfogel about his book "Scroogenomics."
given that I feel more spiritually sick during the holiday season than any other time of the year, this book diagnoses what ails my tortured soul.

diagnosis: american overconsumption.
symptoms: fantasy shopping, plastic bags full of wrapping paper and cardboard boxes to take out to the dumpster, absent-minded shoppers wandering the mall, plastic pieces of junk imported from china strewn about the living room-----

america, i know you're sick, and it isn't all your fault. you've been truly corrupted--you were founded on spiritual and democratic principles from the era of romance and enlightenment that have been warped into an ugly corporate culture of addiction, malnutrition, and waste! things are awfully hazy right now; our minds are as polluted as the air.

this christmas can be different. we are becoming more thoughtful. people are talking about things. we can be conscious decision makers. we are what we buy as much if not more than we are what we eat. america is at capacity; information overload; cannot comprehend any more data! the future is clear! it's time to unlearn.

now watch this, preferably not around bedtime.

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