Monday, August 24, 2009

...and the pursuit of happiness

Megan McArdle in the Atlantic traces back the origins of American home entertainment:

The emergence of leisure activity as what economists call “market production”—something that is bought and sold—is a relatively recent phenomenon. Until well into the 20th century, most leisure was “home production,” created and consumed without much cash changing hands. Our ancestors made parties out of things they needed to do anyway—quilting, raising a barn, eating—or they entertained one another, singing, reciting, dancing. Either way, any trading was strictly on a barter basis.
The Great Depression left us with a legacy of devices that transformed the home, saving our labor and helping us waste the extra time they gave us.

Fun has become America's most important businesses. Maybe that's why people now ask their kids when they come back home, "Did you have fun at school?"

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