Should You Give Christmas Presents? | Philosophy Tube | Summary and Q&A

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December 23, 2016
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Should You Give Christmas Presents? | Philosophy Tube

TL;DR

Economist Joel Wald Fogle argues that gift-giving can lead to a deadweight loss, but it is also about the relationship between individuals and the value they place on each other.

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Key Insights

  • 💝 Gift-giving can result in a deadweight loss if the value of the gift is lower than its price.
  • 😨 Thoughtful and tailored gifts can convey care and value in a relationship.
  • 👶 The value of relationships and certain things, like children, cannot be accurately measured in monetary terms.
  • 💝 Market logic may overlook the emotional and sentimental aspects of gift-giving and relationships.
  • 🥺 Consumerism can lead to the devaluation of certain things, such as relationships and human beings.
  • 🥰 Love, generosity, and mercy have a value that cannot be measured in money.
  • ❓ Category errors occur when market logic is applied to areas that should not be treated as commodities.

Transcript

it's Christmastime a time for love hopefully peace and a time for the philosophy of economics although there are fewer cards with that theme and a time to ask why do we give people presents if we assume that the purpose of giving a gift is to make the recipient happy with the gift and if we assume that people generally know themselves what will mak... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Does gift-giving always lead to a deadweight loss, as suggested by Joel Wald Fogle?

While Fogle argues that gift-giving can lead to a deadweight loss, it is not always the case. Thoughtfully chosen gifts can strengthen relationships and add value beyond their monetary worth.

Q: Can the value of relationships be measured in monetary terms?

No, the value of relationships is subjective and cannot be accurately measured in monetary terms. The emotional connections and the happiness derived from relationships are intangible and go beyond monetary value.

Q: How does the market logic approach gift-giving and relationships?

Market logic suggests that giving cash instead of gifts is more efficient, but it fails to account for the value and sentiment attached to thoughtful gifts. Relationships are not solely based on monetary transactions but involve emotions and care.

Q: Can creating a market for certain things, like adopting children, devalue their worth?

Yes, according to philosopher Michael Sandel, creating a market for certain things, such as children, can lead to corruption and a misvaluation of their worth. Some things should not be treated as commodities and sold for monetary gain.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Gift-giving can create a deadweight loss if the value of the gift is lower than the price paid for it.

  • However, thoughtful and tailored gifts can demonstrate care and value in a relationship.

  • The value of relationships and certain things, such as children, cannot be accurately measured in monetary terms.

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