Bryan Caplan  

The Experience Machine

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I forgot to mention the greatest experience-producing durable good of all: the Digital Video Recorder. You could argue (mistakenly, I think) that you'll soon take a nice t.v. for granted. But the whole point of a DVR is to expand your menu of experiences - and it works. Best money I spent in years.


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COMMENTS (3 to date)
Lord writes:

I think you do take a nice tv for granted, not immediately but gradually over time. One appreciates it over a shorter span than its lifetime which can be very long these days. Similarly a DVR makes its greatest impact when you haven't previously had one but also fades over time. New programming can add impact, but that is the impact of the programming, not the DVR.

Mark Horn writes:

I've been on the DVR bandwagon for 4 years now. And I am quite certain that the DVR continues to have great impact on me. I'm reminded of it everytime I go on vacation and I don't have one. I'm especially reminded of it by my children who assume that they can watch "Dora the Explorer" whenever they want, and not have to wait for it's scheduled time. TV is a completely different experience for them at Grandma's house.

As for the durability of goods vs experiences, I have noticed that my wife strongly prefers travel as a use of our money, while I strongly prefer purchasing goods. Vacations are fun, but their utility only really lasts as long as the vacation. The memory of a vacation provides little marginal value to me compared to being able to sit down (again) at the playstation. For my wife, the memory is much more valuable. I sometimes wonder if it's more valuable than the actual experience.

Omer K writes:

For my wife, the memory is much more valuable. I sometimes wonder if it's more valuable than the actual experience.
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Yup. Even a cursory review of the research in brain and behaviour differences show that males and females are, on the average, "geared" to different things.

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