Short Skirt Economics 

Apropos to my post from yesterday, maybe this is the kind of stuff that Kartik Athreya was complaining about?

Want to shorten the recession? Try wearing a shorter skirt.

 

Rising hemlines – along with upbeat songs on the radio – are signs of national optimism and can result in a happy outcome on both the economic and political scenes, according to a new research reported by the Daily Express.

 

When women start wearing mini skirts and happy tunes rise high on the charts, this means the nation is feeling content, according to John L. Casti, author of “Mood Matters: From Rising Skirt Lengths to the Collapse of World Powers.

 

“All social events ranging from trends in pop music and art to the outcome of elections and even the rise and fall of great civilizations are biased by the attitudes a society holds to the future,” he said in the Daily Express.

When the mood is positive, he explains, events “of an entirely different character tend to occur” than when people are feeling pessimistic. “Most people think the outcome of elections causes the mood of the country to change,” Casti said. “The opposite is true.”

Well, now, this is just silly. Undoubtedly, positive moods and outlooks accompany positive economic changes.  But correlation shouldn’t be confused with causation. And if we’re having a chicken-egg conversation here, I’m going to have to side with economic upswings occurring first. Short skirts, while fantastic, aren’t likely to “cause” much of anything in a national economic sense.

Leaving that aside, since when do miniskirts indicate “national optimism”? As JammieWearingFool says, “I figure this is why I'm not an economist. Silly me just thought more women wearing miniskirts meant it was hot out.” Indeed, by Mr. Casti’s logic, Scotland should be the most optimistic and economically booming place in the world. I mean, even the men wear skirts! And heck, Australian Aborigines wear practically nothing so they must be awfully happy and wealthy too, right?

No, of course not. Clothes (or the lack thereof) aren’t ever going to be much of an indicator of anything other than weather or culture. Business expansion and rising incomes are just as likely to accompany women buying more shoes, hats and purses as they are miniskirts, but such purchases are rarely going to be the best predictors what sort of economic expansion we might have. Indeed, the normal course of events shows that luxury items follow economic good times, rather than precede them. And all else being equal, rising temperatures tend to have much more bearing on skirt length than “happy, happy, joy, joy” feelings about the economy.

Whatever the economic outlook for America, it won’t be presaged on miniskirts and pop music.  

Unfortunately, just as always, it will depend entirely on the ability of businesses to grow and ramp up production of goods and services. Until that happens, although rising hemlines are something to which I will assuredly be paying close attention, they will just be a distraction from the true engine of our economy: jobs.

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Michael Wade

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