Friday, February 03, 2006

You're my superstar

A number of years ago, Sherwin Rosen wrote about a “superstar” effect in economics*, whereby a single individual can, using modern technology to disseminate a product, reach a huge market, and thereby enjoy potentially enormous gains, perhaps at the expense of others in the same field. According to this view, the neighbourhood pianist of yesteryear is out of a job because virtuoso performances can now reach millions of people through CDs, high-quality radio broadcasts etc.

A heartening contrast, at least for those of us who are not superstars, is the emphatically one-to-one nature of human relationships. It takes so much time and effort to build a good relationship, that almost by definition superstar effects are excluded – you can only genuinely provide love to a small number of people. This puts an interesting twist on some of the phrases we use: “Daddy’s princess”, “you’re my superstar” etc.

*Here’s a short version of one of his essays:
http://www.geocities.com/valencia_aaup/The_Economics_of_Superstars.html

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