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  Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays
  這本英文書趕在聖誕節前應景出版,引起各界討論的興趣,中文書名約可譯為「送禮經濟學──為什麼你不該在佳節時買禮物」。在歐美,聖誕節時一定要為家人(也許還加上朋友)選購禮物,但以經濟學的角度來看,收到禮物所感受到的價值,一定大於購買時的價值,而中間的價差,是經濟學上的浪費。
 
  作者認真地去查閱歷史資料、做問卷調查,統計結果顯示,中間的價差為20%;美國每年花在購買耶誕禮物上有650億美金,20%就是130億,是個不容小覷的驚人數字,因此書裡建議改為中國人的「包紅包」,或用禮券代替。但引起爭論的是,送禮並非純粹的經濟活動,還包括很大的情感因素,若直接送現金禮券便失去了驚喜和趣味。在這種情況下,我們到底要十分理性以符合經濟效益為依歸,還是該為了「感覺」浪費20%呢?無論如何,經濟學都已經深入人類的生活。


.作者:Joel Waldfogel
.譯者:
.分類:財經
.出版社:Princeton Univ Pr
.出版日期:2009/10/25
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推介節錄 By Wildness(網友)

 Finally, someone willing to stand up and point out the white elephant in the room... This is a refreshing book for its honesty and frankness. I have tried to have this conversation with my family for a few years, but to only find deaf ears on the subject.

 In a perfect world, everyone would put a lot of thought and effort into their gift buying decisions. But that doesn't happen; not to belittle the efforts that people make, which are often very much in earnest, but the average person is likely so caught up in their own day-to-day life that they really aren't as in tune with the people they know as they think. Even family members rarely truly know what others like or want - ask any teenager on that one.

 As someone who has spent his adult life trying to make very personal gift choices, I have come to learn two valuable things: One, even when I think I know someone well, I still don't live inside of that person's head and thus can never truly look at something from his or her perspective, and never fully know how much or little they appreciated it; and two, since about the age of twelve, I have rarely received gifts that I valued as much as the gift giver probably expected (and most often, I have found the gifts more unwanted than anything and a waste of the natural resources used to make them from my personal world view).

 Whether the giver has been family or friend or lover, unless it was something I had already expressly showed a desire for, the gifts have most often missed the mark; and sometimes when asked for specific gift ideas, the buyer chooses a different brand or version (sometimes even a more expensive option) thinking it just as good, when in fact is not what I wanted, which leads to disappointment. I greatly dislike the whole gift idea list as it proves the point - if I have to give you a list (and vice-versa) I am better off just buying it for myself as would anyone I would be buying gifts for.

 The best gift is the one that is least expected; one, because since it is not expected, disappointment is not likely; and two, because the gift given unexpectedly is often the one that has had the most thought put into.

 Since our society is not likely to reverse course in the foreseeable future and remove the expectations of Christmas gift giving (and return to a celebration of the season as in olden days - we're talking hundreds of years here), I believe that the gift card is the absolute best solution and will be the only thing I list to my family (I only provide the list because ignoring the repeated requests for one is usually more effort than just providing one), and is likely the only gifts I will be giving this year - luckily, I know exactly where my family likes to shop AND they know exactly what they want or need.

 There is one other option, and that is addressed well in a great companion book to this one: The Hundred Dollar Holiday by Bill McKibben: Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case For A More Joyful Christmas. In this nice little book, Bill McKibben calls for a less wasteful Christmas that is more focused on the joy of spending time with family and friends and where the gift giving is restricted to a family total of $100 and where handmade gifts are strongly preferred.
 
 In the end, I have changed my entire approach to life and it is centered around Less Stuff, More Experience.
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