The Economics of Festivus

If friends and family are bad at choosing simple gifts that the receiver values highly, what chance the Nanny state of knowing better?

Upset Patterns

In a season 9 episode of Seinfeld, George’s father Frank resurrects a holiday from George’s childhood called Festivus. Among other things, Festivus rejects the gift-giving aspect of many holidays. Frank Costanza may have been onto something.

Around Christmas time, the media will report excitedly that a certain amount of money has been pumped into the economy because of higher consumer spending. While this dollar estimate may seem like only good news, looking behind the numbers reveals a less rosy picture. The gift-giving surrounding Christmas and other holidays can be viewed as a loss in value to society from an economist’s point of view. 


Consumer Choice

Anytime you go online, go to a store, or browse through a shopping magazine, you decide to buy something only if you value the item(s) at equal or more to the price you’d pay. If you think you could spend the $20 for a widget on…

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About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at

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