The Clear Expectation of Cultural Betterment in the Face of Rising Living Standards

33 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2021

See all articles by Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy

Southern Methodist University (SMU)

Date Written: March 26, 2021

Abstract

Rising Real Gross Domestic Product Per Capita data indicates rises in living standards. Nonetheless, cultural pessimism is the received view. This paper makes a series of arguments that we should expect our cultural products (e.g. art or cuisine) to be on an upwards trajectory, just as RGDP per capita is. To do so, I expand on Bill James’s “Peripheral Quality Indicia” in order to argue that analogous indicators for our cultural products strongly suggest that they have improved. I also claim that RGDP per capita is itself a peripheral quality indicium for essentially any good in the economy. I then sketch the conditions under which cultural products are actually lower in quality today than they were in previous periods to demonstrate their general unlikelihood.

Keywords: Living Standards, Cultural Economics

JEL Classification: Z11; Z18; O49; O00; P10

Suggested Citation

Murphy, Ryan, The Clear Expectation of Cultural Betterment in the Face of Rising Living Standards (March 26, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3813547 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3813547

Ryan Murphy (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University (SMU) ( email )

6212 Bishop Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

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