A childish error

In: Uncategorized

20 Feb 2009

After several recent posts about the trend towards austerity perhaps something for comic relief. Peter Wilby, a columnist for the New Statesman, writes in a review for the magazine published on 19 February:

“Children … have become the motors of economic growth, responsible (through what they spend and what their parents spend on them) for a market worth nearly £100bn annually, up 33 per cent in five years. Moreover, they influence an unquantifiable proportion of adult spending on, for example, cars and holidays. If parents show children insist they spur themselves to renewed effort. Companies once sold to children by marketing to parents. Now it’s the other way round, with children sometimes pointing their parents to advertisements for loans or new credit cards.”

This takes to an absurd conclusion the already odd notion that consumption drives the economy. It is not clear where such commentators think consumer goods come from. Perhaps they are somehow consumed without being produced first? It also makes the common mistake of overestimating the importance of personal consumption in the economy.