kottke.org posts about marginalrevolution

Things that go up in a down economy

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 03, 2009

Marginal Revolution has been posting an ongoing series of posts on countercyclical assets: things are doing well even though the economy as a whole is struggling. The latest example is that shoe repair shops are doing a booming business. One Florida cobbler's repair volume is up 50%.

Some other examples are increasing activity on Second Life, cocoa futures, unusual pets, gold coins and wine, evangelical churches, tasers, high end prostitutes, beer, and household safes. Sounds like a hell of a party.

My own countercyclical hunch is that Internet use will rise dramatically over the year because a) it has become something that people need (even more than TV...you'll see people scaling back on cable before they send back their cable modem) and b) spending more time using it doesn't cost extra. Plus, unemployment = lots of time to spend online screwing around "updating your resume".

Aesthetics has been at the heart of

posted by Deron Bauman   Mar 07, 2008

Aesthetics has been at the heart of a lot of political discussions this season. Whether it's Obama's choice of font or McCain's logo, the design web has been full of observations.

Which is why Tyler Cowen's thoughts about the relative aesthetics of Clinton and Obama caught my eye. He starts by questioning how there can be such animosity between two campaigns when both candidates share such similar views.

Any fan of Dr. Seuss will know that policy similarity hardly matters. The two candidates represent two diametrically opposed portraits of the relationship between aesthetics and politics. Should we expect beauty, grace and universality, or should we derive our feel-good sentiments about politics from righteousness, confrontation, and sheer dogged persistence and feelings of ultimate desert?

At the end, Tyler shifts the conversation away from aesthetics toward the relationship of power and politics, but of course, power has a relationship to aesthetics. It's simply a question of how it is wrapped.