Cash is the most efficient gift, according to economists. Cash is also a terrible gift, according to economists. By guaranteeing that the recipient can buy exactly what she wants, you guarantee that the recipient will consider you an unemotional robot.
That's why the vast majority of economists in the University of Chicago's IGM poll said it's absurd to give cash to loved ones for the holidays. "In some cases," Steven Kaplan said, in a stirring defense for thoughtful gifts, "non-pecuniary [not cash-related] values are important."
Non-pecuniary values are important! I guess so. But can you imagine a more wooden explication of love? Can you imagine a more wooden explanation of anything? Just think of the Christmas card...
It's ... perfect?
And it got me thinking. Could you design an entire set of Christmas cards from these famous economists' actual quotes to the University of Chicago? Might it make the perfect new line of season's greetings from Hallmark? Why yes, it really could.
"Cash is more efficient in a narrow sense, but holiday gift exchanges are about interpersonal relationships," Joseph Altonji explained, in a card that would be perfect for, say, coaxing your long-withdrawn uncle back home for a family reunion.