Thursday, July 20, 2006

materialism

Today I taught two students, a brother and a sister. They were from the most materialistic country in the world. I don't think I need to mention the name of the country...
They were actually from the most materialistic state of the country. I don't think I need to mention the name of the state either...

The brother was holding a digital camera with some music coming out of it.
This is a digital camera AND an MP3 player, he said. I wanted both. And for $250 I could buy the camera and for just $50 a memory card so that now it can hold more songs than an I-pod.
Quite impressive, I commented.
The sister asked me: where're you from?
Italy.
Really? that's so cool!
Oh yeah? Why?
Well, you just won the world cup, didn't you?
And that makes us cool? I didn't know that...
Then she asked me (no joke) if I had a pink life jacket to match her nail polish.
Of course, I replied: no, but this blue one will be a perfect match for your blonde hair...
She liked that.

I don't know what to say. I'm just happy that I still have a brain...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

i've got an ipod bought for 150 and also a camera for 250.
i might buy one of dakine and i'm
from Italy!

cammar said...

Oh, I have a $350 digital camera too, but that's not the very first thing I mention (unsolicited!) to my windsurf instructor. Sorry, maybe it wasn't clear, but you missed the point there...

Anonymous said...

The most materialistic country?

Switzerland.

The most materialist state?

Canton Bern.

Correct?

Ben Bernanke said...

Signore Cammar,

We at the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee are very interested in your methodology for measuring Materialism across diverse populations.

Is your determination based on an econometric index of some kind? Are there any manifest objective data parameters, which, if properly combined, give a reproducible assessment of the materialism variable?

Alternatively, do you use subjective data collected through longitudinul studies (i.e. surveys, for example) and relying on accepted polling techniques? If so, have you found dimensions in the parmater space which correlate with materialism as a cultural value? And what are the threshold levels for the determination, and would there be any cross-cultural controls required for bias elimination, adjustment, or reduction, to account, for example, for political, social, historical, or linguistic differences?

In more than one hundred years since our national institution, the Federal Reserve, was formed, we have sought to develop a measure that would allow us to assess the relative success of our efforts, which are oriented to create favorable environments, both nationally and internationally, for the adoption and spread of materialistic values and behaviors. So far our efforts to develop accurate predictors have failed - hence we are fascinated with your results.

Sincererly,

Benjamin Bernanke, Phd.
Chairman, FOMC
Washington, DC

cammar said...

Mister Bernanke (alias Maria Antonia, I suppose), you are funny as shit!
I just love the fact that you took some of your time to write stuff like that. Even though I almost immediately recognized your style, I confess I had a moment in which I wondered... "what the hell is this?"
Very, very funny.
Thanks!