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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 27 of the late Wesleyan University economic historian Stanley Lebergott’s brilliant 1993 book, Pursuing Happiness: American Consumers in the Twentieth Century (footnote deleted):

The number of cultural novelties added to GNP since 1921 is twenty times as great as the additional flavors, shapes, and kinds [of goods] sold in supermarkets and pharmacies, though seen as waste and superfluities by some onlookers. Many of these proved creative, desirable, or fresh to actual consumers. Grant that some “superfluities” should never have been published, or recorded. But what secular authority is entitled to specify which they are? And what principle would guide it except gut preference for, say, Sholokov rather than Akhmatova?

Those who volunteer to instruct us on the items appropriate for consumer markets call to mind Bishop Warburton’s cheerful distinction: “Orthodoxy is my doxy. Heterodoxy is another man’s doxy.”

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