In Praise of Commercial Culture

In Praise of Commercial Culture
Author: Tyler COWEN,Tyler Cowen
Publsiher: Harvard University Press
Total Pages: 288
Release: 2009-06-30
Genre: Business & Economics
ISBN: 9780674029934

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Does a market economy encourage or discourage music, literature, and the visual arts? Do economic forces of supply and demand help or harm the pursuit of creativity? This book seeks to redress the current intellectual and popular balance and to encourage a more favorable attitude toward the commercialization of culture that we associate with modernity. Economist Tyler Cowen argues that the capitalist market economy is a vital but underappreciated institutional framework for supporting a plurality of co-existing artistic visions, providing a steady stream of new and satisfying creations, supporting both high and low culture, helping consumers and artists refine their tastes, and paying homage to the past by capturing, reproducing, and disseminating it. Contemporary culture, Cowen argues, is flourishing in its various manifestations, including the visual arts, literature, music, architecture, and the cinema. Successful high culture usually comes out of a healthy and prosperous popular culture. Shakespeare and Mozart were highly popular in their own time. Beethoven's later, less accessible music was made possible in part by his early popularity. Today, consumer demand ensures that archival blues recordings, a wide array of past and current symphonies, and this week's Top 40 hit sit side by side in the music megastore. High and low culture indeed complement each other. Cowen's philosophy of cultural optimism stands in opposition to the many varieties of cultural pessimism found among conservatives, neo-conservatives, the Frankfurt School, and some versions of the political correctness and multiculturalist movements, as well as historical figures, including Rousseau and Plato. He shows that even when contemporary culture is thriving, it appears degenerate, as evidenced by the widespread acceptance of pessimism. He ends by considering the reasons why cultural pessimism has such a powerful hold on intellectuals and opinion-makers.

What Price Fame

What Price Fame
Author: Tyler Cowen
Publsiher: Harvard University Press
Total Pages: 268
Release: 2000
Genre: Business & Economics
ISBN: 0674001559

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In a world where more people know who Princess Di was than who their own senators are, where Graceland draws more visitors per year than the White House, and where Michael Jordan is an industry unto himself, fame and celebrity are central currencies. In this intriguing book, Tyler Cowen explores and elucidates the economics of fame. Fame motivates the talented and draws like-minded fans together. But it also may put profitability ahead of quality, visibility above subtlety, and privacy out of reach. The separation of fame and merit is one of the central dilemmas Cowen considers in his account of the modern market economy. He shows how fame is produced, outlines the principles that govern who becomes famous and why, and discusses whether fame-seeking behavior harmonizes individual and social interests or corrupts social discourse and degrades culture. Most pertinently, Cowen considers the implications of modern fame for creativity, privacy, and morality. Where critics from Plato to Allan Bloom have decried the quest for fame, Cowen takes a more pragmatic, optimistic view. He identifies the benefits of a fame-intensive society and makes a persuasive case that however bad fame may turn out to be for the famous, it is generally good for society and culture.

Creative Destruction

Creative Destruction
Author: Tyler Cowen
Publsiher: Princeton University Press
Total Pages: 192
Release: 2009-01-10
Genre: Business & Economics
ISBN: 9781400825189

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A Frenchman rents a Hollywood movie. A Thai schoolgirl mimics Madonna. Saddam Hussein chooses Frank Sinatra's "My Way" as the theme song for his fifty-fourth birthday. It is a commonplace that globalization is subverting local culture. But is it helping as much as it hurts? In this strikingly original treatment of a fiercely debated issue, Tyler Cowen makes a bold new case for a more sympathetic understanding of cross-cultural trade. Creative Destruction brings not stale suppositions but an economist's eye to bear on an age-old question: Are market exchange and aesthetic quality friends or foes? On the whole, argues Cowen in clear and vigorous prose, they are friends. Cultural "destruction" breeds not artistic demise but diversity. Through an array of colorful examples from the areas where globalization's critics have been most vocal, Cowen asks what happens when cultures collide through trade, whether technology destroys native arts, why (and whether) Hollywood movies rule the world, whether "globalized" culture is dumbing down societies everywhere, and if national cultures matter at all. Scrutinizing such manifestations of "indigenous" culture as the steel band ensembles of Trinidad, Indian handweaving, and music from Zaire, Cowen finds that they are more vibrant than ever--thanks largely to cross-cultural trade. For all the pressures that market forces exert on individual cultures, diversity typically increases within society, even when cultures become more like each other. Trade enhances the range of individual choice, yielding forms of expression within cultures that flower as never before. While some see cultural decline as a half-empty glass, Cowen sees it as a glass half-full with the stirrings of cultural brilliance. Not all readers will agree, but all will want a say in the debate this exceptional book will stir.

Brand New China

Brand New China
Author: Jing Wang
Publsiher: Harvard University Press
Total Pages: 436
Release: 2010-04-10
Genre: Business & Economics
ISBN: 0674044827

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One part riveting account of fieldwork and one part rigorous academic study, Brand New China offers a unique perspective on the advertising and marketing culture of China. Jing Wang’s experiences in the disparate worlds of Beijing advertising agencies and the U.S. academy allow her to share a unique perspective on China during its accelerated reintegration into the global market system. Brand New China offers a detailed, penetrating, and up-to-date portrayal of branding and advertising in contemporary China. Wang takes us inside an advertising agency to show the influence of American branding theories and models. She also examines the impact of new media practices on Chinese advertising, deliberates on the convergence of grassroots creative culture and viral marketing strategies, samples successful advertising campaigns, provides practical insights about Chinese consumer segments, and offers methodological reflections on pop culture and advertising research. This book unveils a “brand new” China that is under the sway of the ideology of global partnership while struggling not to become a mirror image of the United States. Wang takes on the task of showing where Western thinking works in China, where it does not, and, perhaps most important, where it creates opportunities for cross-fertilization. Thanks to its combination of engaging vignettes from the advertising world and thorough research that contextualizes these vignettes, Brand New China will be of interest to industry participants, students of popular culture, and the general reading public interested in learning about a rapidly transforming Chinese society.

An Economist Gets Lunch

An Economist Gets Lunch
Author: Tyler Cowen
Publsiher: Penguin
Total Pages: 304
Release: 2012-04-12
Genre: Business & Economics
ISBN: 9781101561669

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One of the most influential economists of the decade-and the New York Times bestselling author of The Great Stagnation-boldly argues that just about everything you've heard about food is wrong. Food snobbery is killing entrepreneurship and innovation, says economist, preeminent social commentator, and maverick dining guide blogger Tyler Cowen. Americans are becoming angry that our agricultural practices have led to global warming-but while food snobs are right that local food tastes better, they're wrong that it is better for the environment, and they are wrong that cheap food is bad food. The food world needs to know that you don't have to spend more to eat healthy, green, exciting meals. At last, some good news from an economist! Tyler Cowen discusses everything from slow food to fast food, from agriculture to gourmet culture, from modernist cuisine to how to pick the best street vendor. He shows why airplane food is bad but airport food is good; why restaurants full of happy, attractive people serve mediocre meals; and why American food has improved as Americans drink more wine. And most important of all, he shows how to get good, cheap eats just about anywhere. Just as The Great Stagnation was Cowen's response to all the fashionable thinking about the economic crisis, An Economist Gets Lunch is his response to all the fashionable thinking about food. Provocative, incisive, and as enjoyable as a juicy, grass-fed burger, it will influence what you'll choose to eat today and how we're going to feed the world tomorrow.

The Great Stagnation

The Great Stagnation
Author: Tyler Cowen
Publsiher: Penguin
Total Pages: 71
Release: 2011-01-25
Genre: Business & Economics
ISBN: 9781101502259

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Tyler Cowen’s controversial New York Times bestseller—the book heard round the world that ignited a firestorm of debate and redefined the nature of America’s economic malaise. America has been through the biggest financial crisis since the great Depression, unemployment numbers are frightening, media wages have been flat since the 1970s, and it is common to expect that things will get worse before they get better. Certainly, the multidecade stagnation is not yet over. How will we get out of this mess? One political party tries to increase government spending even when we have no good plan for paying for ballooning programs like Medicare and Social Security. The other party seems to think tax cuts will raise revenue and has a record of creating bigger fiscal disasters that the first. Where does this madness come from? As Cowen argues, our economy has enjoyed low-hanging fruit since the seventeenth century: free land, immigrant labor, and powerful new technologies. But during the last forty years, the low-hanging fruit started disappearing, and we started pretending it was still there. We have failed to recognize that we are at a technological plateau. The fruit trees are barer than we want to believe. That's it. That is what has gone wrong and that is why our politics is crazy. In The Great Stagnation, Cowen reveals the underlying causes of our past prosperity and how we will generate it again. This is a passionate call for a new respect of scientific innovations that benefit not only the powerful elites, but humanity as a whole.

Selling Paris

Selling Paris
Author: Alexia M. Yates
Publsiher: Harvard University Press
Total Pages: 361
Release: 2015-10-06
Genre: Business & Economics
ISBN: 9780674915985

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Besieged during the Franco-Prussian War, its buildings damaged, its finances mired in debt, Paris was a city in crisis. Alexia Yates chronicles the private actors and networks, practices and politics, that spurred the largest building boom of the nineteenth century, turning city-making into big business in the French capital.

German Pop Culture

German Pop Culture
Author: Agnes C. Mueller
Publsiher: University of Michigan Press
Total Pages: 256
Release: 2004
Genre: History
ISBN: 0472113844

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An incisive study of the impact of American culture on modern German society