Happy St. Valentine’s Day! The day originally commemorated the martyr of St Valentine, but was co-opted by Chaucer to become a testament to romantic love.
But first, let me introduce myself. I’m Jay. I am an American. A Floridian to be more exact. My program (or should I write programme) is the Diploma for Graduates in Economics. I am quite enthusiastic about earning a diploma from here because of the storied history of the LSE, which provides academic direction. For now though, back to Valentine’s Day.
More recently the romantic love part has been it’s been re-co-opted in America and parts of the world to require of costly signaling. What is costly signaling? Chocolates, flowers, and in the mall where I work, I have seen men carrying around little baggies from jewelry stores. In fact the holiday is less about romance and more about spending money. By one estimate Americans will spend $18.6 billion, with a b, on the holiday. And there is probably no multiplier effect applied to that spending. We send schoolchildren to exchange Valentines and candies. And if you don’t get one you’re just not the most popular kid in elementary school, maybe your mum will give you one. My mom did, and in fact gave me some to give to friends like when I was in elementary school.
As a exhibit A that Valentines day is simply a commercial holiday, they are Star Wars branded pop-up Valentines. The fact that there was a demand for LucasArts, see Disney, to even license the likeness of Darth Vader to push Valentine’s day should say something. “I really want a Star Wars Pop-up card for Valentine’s card,” said no girl in the history of the holiday. The cards don’t have this guy, and this girl on them. I know. Instead they contain prequel Obi-wan and Anakin fighting with Vader in the background, see below. That’s a bad romance.
Still, Star Wars is probably better than how economists do it. 14 Ways an Economist Says I love you. Among my favorite:
- The S&P 500 was red, but I wasn’t blue, I shorted the market and went long on you
- You make the impossible possible, with a picture of a production possibilities frontier, and YOU outside of it
- And my personal favorite, The marginal return of spending time with you will never diminish.
I will give a couple of these to friends today. There are worse things than distributing bagatelles in the name of love, Consider this my Valentine to you reader:
Jay is studying the Diploma for Graduates in Economics by distance learning with the University of London International Programmes.