Friday, December 27, 2013

Opting In and Out at a Medium Pace.

Bryan Caplan on the farce of gift exchange among mere acquaintances.
Yes, non-pecuniary preferences argue against cash; but SDB [social desirability bias] suggests that a lot of professed non-pecuniary "preferences" are, in fact, lies. Why don't these liars jointly agree to stop exchanging (non-cash) presents? SDB once again! The first person who proposes an End This Miserable Charade Treaty sounds like a jerk.
 Abruptly opting out of a suboptimal gift exchange regime is likely to damage valuable relationships. Easing out over the course of decades wastes time, treasure, and attention. Strike a pleasant balance, and bolster it if you can with translucent excuses like changes in career or family to switch to those gifts that make the exchange a pleasure for the recipient.

And for the love of God, cut it out with the Secret Santa crap already. The demoralizing waste is an affront to decency.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?