The economics of Christmas

It’s not often that someone else writes a post I genuinely envy. But John Carney has put together a brilliant economic satire of various writers and their competing perspectives through the lens of Christmas: 

The Christmas equivalence theorem

By Robert Barro, Wall Street Journal
it’s understandable that young people across America hope that their
lives will be enriched by a sudden influx of toys and sugarplums on
December 25, it is incumbent on grown-ups to realize the truth about
this Keynesian scheme. It
has been demonstrated time and again that Christmas cannot add to the
store of toys of the nation or even a single household. Households
experiencing a surge in gifts on Christmas day compensate by withholding
gifts in the future. That is, gifts that are “spent” on Christmas are
saved during the remainder of the year. So each Christmas gift isn’t
really so much given as borrowed from the future. Sorry kids, Santa isn’t so much bringing you presents as stealing presents you would have received in the future.

Rudolph’s Ruddy Nose (Wonkish)

By Paul Krugman, New York Times
Weisenthal has a terrific take on the growth of unemployment in the
North Pole. As is well known, reindeer unemployment has surged. Yet the
Very Serious Elves who promised that sleigh austerity would rapidly
bring growth back to the Pole have learned nothing.

it’s not just the elves. Even economists, who should know better, go on
insisting that we need to shrink Santa’s route now despite high
reindeer unemployment. Some continue to insist that there just is a
skill mismatch in the Pole economy, so that we have no choice but to
allow the diminutive Rudolph resources go unemployed. This truly is the
dark age of North Pole economics. Imagine
for a moment that the pole suffered from an immense foggy night.
Everyone would agree in that case that we could put Rudolph’s red nose
to good use. I know it drives people crazy when I mention that a crisis
can be good for aggregate demand—but everyone who disagrees with me is
already crazy, so who cares?

The dirty secret of North Pole’s success

By Steve Sailer,
appears to be a silent rule among pundits—all of whom secretly read
me—that we not mention immigration and the North Pole in the same
sentence. The truth is that the success of Santa’s operation up there
demonstrates that the accepted orthodoxy on immigration is 100 percent
wrong. For as long as anyone can remember, there’s been zero immigration
to the North Pole—yet the economy thrives, the elves have a thriving
culture and there is very little social strife. All that is supposed to
be impossible in a monoculture.

But, of course, you’re not supposed to notice these hate-facts.

Open Borders: Why should they stop at Christmas?

By Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
year the American government briefly relaxes its stranglehold on our
borders to permit the entrance of Santa Claus and his team of reindeer.
If this is a good thing on Christmas, imagine how much better it would
be if we made this our year round policy? Have you ever eaten in an
Elven restaurant? The candy canes are sublime.

there are some who think that competition with elf workers would
impoverish American workers, there is not a lot of evidence to support
this. In fact, the toy making of the elves would likely be complimentary
to native production. What’s more, the wealth generated by elven labor
would add to economic growth.

Now that is really funny and very well done. It’s a pity he didn’t include McRapey, although I suppose it’s hard to satirize self-satire.

Santa’s Straight, White, Cis-Male Privilege
By John Scalzi, Whatever 
“I’m a jolly old elf. I’m one of those elves who likes to force myself into houses without their owner’s consent or desire. The
details of how I do this are not particularly important at the moment —
although I love when you try to make distinctions about “forced entry”
or “legitimate intrusion” because that gives me all sorts of wiggle room —
but I will tell you one of the details about why I do it: I like to eat pie.