Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cultural misunderstanding

I wanted to comment briefly on a post by Arnold King about the lack of high-skilled labor:
Perhaps the seemingly low "supply of high-skill" (aka highly-credentialed) workers is a reflection of low demand for the lifestyle of high-skilled workers. Maybe at the margin many people would prefer more leisure to higher cash incomes.
One of the first things that we learn in econ is that you can't demand things that you don't know are in existence. I'm not responsive to price changes of Australian candybars because I don't have the opportunity to consume them (assuming I can't order them over the Internet).

The same thing can be said about "foreign lifestyles" and being aware of how other people live. As an upper middle-class, white college student, I don't have a very good understanding of what a lower class lifestyle is like. Sure, I know what it entails, but I don't truly understand it. The same can be said for other cultures when they are observing my life. So all in all, it's hard to determine if you really want or don't want another lifestyle if your understanding of it is limited to what you see out of your windshield.

Perhaps our understanding of other cultures has increased over the decades, but we also seek out others who are similar to us, so it's hard to say.

I'm not saying that King is wrong - but that perhaps cultural misunderstanding may play into this debate somehow.

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