I see that Anne Applebaum has stumbled into something i’ve been stressing here for some time, that economics is a science of human behavior, that preferences matter, and that preferences may differ from country to country for a wide variety of reasons:
Anyone making economic recommendations, whether in the pages of a newspaper or directly into President Obama’s ear, should remember this: The viability of an austerity policy — or a fiscal stimulus — in the United States might also depend on the political climate in which it is introduced, the mood of the nation at the time and — who knows! — maybe the behavior of our celebrities too.
One size does not fit all. Human beings are not completely independent entities. They live within cultural contexts. They aren’t like atomic particles or perfect spheres. History matters. What the neighbors do and think matters. What their favorite actors or sports figures do (as well as say) matters.