Seminar notes, session 2

I started the session by elaborating on a paradox that emerged from the first session. We believe that our culture is fragmenting, while our elites are consolidating into a monoculture. To illustrate fragmentation, I suggested looking at movies in terms of nominal GDP, real GDP, and real GDP per capita. Compare the market share of hit movies in the early 2000s (before streaming) to the 1960s and 1970s. In nominal terms, the gross revenues are higher for the hits of the early 2000s. But in real terms, adjusted for ticket prices, they are not. And in real per capita terms, meaning the number of tickets sold relative to the adult population at the time, hit movies from the 1960s and 1970s were much more of a collective cultural phenomenon. Later in the seminar, it was pointed out that time-shifting further fragments the audience. If people watch the same TV show but at different times, it is less of a shared experience.

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