How bad are things?

As we face what seems to be an unending stream of bad economic news, I notice that the new trend in home improvements is outdoor living spaces.

Folks are upgrading their backyards from grassy patches used for playing catch and slip-n-slide with their kids into open-air living and entertainment spaces equipped with working kitchens, cozy furniture and mood landscaping inspired by pool decks of posh Miami resorts.

Another recent things-can’t-be-that-bad trend was furnishing in-home movie theaters complete with state-of-the-art viewing equipment, rows of leather-clad reclining seats and even theater-style popcorn machines.

These trends also offer a good lesson for effectiveness of “the market”.  Outdoor living spaces and in-home theaters have long been custom luxuries enjoyed by the wealthy.  As the trend has caught on, suppliers have responded by making the furnishings and equipment affordable to folks at all levels of income.

2 thoughts on “How bad are things?

  1. My ill-informed opinion on this is that we are getting a “bi-modal” recovery/recession. The well-off were never that harmed by the recession in the first place, and have recovered much of that smallish harm. The poor were harmed relatively more and have recovered the least. The trends you’ve noticed obviously apply to the well-off half. I think this may be due to e.g. unpredictable health care minimum wage, extending unemployment benefits, construction sector weakness, marginal tax rates when you take various means-tested benefits into account. The health care minimum wage especially applies: the well-off are already getting health care benefits, so the threat of making them mandatory doesn’t apply.

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