International Economics

Keeping Up with the Joneses, the Singhs, the Alexandrovs, the Itos…

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Ever wondered what people are spending their money on? The New York Times has a sweet interactive feature with spending in various countries on clothes, recreation, alcohol and tobacco, and more.

NYT map

As usual, the U.S. is a notably huge consumer. But there are also some quirky results, like Norway, Finland, and Switzerland spending huge amounts per capita on booze and smokes. Ireland, too, but maybe no surprise there. 

Go here to see the whole feature.

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  1. But there are also some quirky results, like Norway, Finland, and Switzerland spending huge amounts per capita on booze and smokes.

    No shit. A Maker’s on the rocks cost me about $14 when I was in Norway about seven years ago.

  2. Damn. That’s a cool link. The NYT did some decent work there.

  3. Damn. That’s a cool link. The NYT did some decent work there.

    BLASPHEMER! GO FROM THIS PLACE!

  4. As usual, the U.S. is a notably huge consumer

    No shit. Interestingly, the Canadians stay in relative proportion to us except for Recreation. I guess dirty Parcheesi really makes up for not being Miami.

  5. I guess dirty Parcheesi really makes up for not being Miami.

    Now you’re catching on.

    I didn’t RTFA, but I wonder if the amounts spent include taxes. I was about to be really impressed with Canada’s alcohol & tobacco spending, until I realized that a bottle of wine I can get for $5.99 USD at Safeway costs ~$17 CAD in the Great Sin-Taxin’ North.

    I’m not a smoker, but I’m pretty sure cigarettes are much, much more expensive there, too.

  6. My main beef with the NYT is not its political slant or even its obvious biases, but that it treats the rest of America like it’s some dark and foreign land who inhabitants have incomprehensible customs.

    Take a look at this article, where they examine the startling and completely new phenomenon of the convenience store. “Wow, man… It’s like the future in here or somethin’!”

    I imagine NYT columnists faced with a tractor for the first time, surmising it to be an animatronic dinosaur without its skin.

  7. BLASPHEMER! GO FROM THIS PLACE!

    C’mon SugarFree, give in to the temptation of their cool graphics, fun slide shows, and free archives. All the cool kids are doing it.

  8. To be fair Cher Sugar, much of America thinks of NYC the same way.

  9. I’m just not a fan of newspapers in general. I used to work in the periodical department and read dozens of them a day. I realized that all of them basically say the same thing over and over again and accept useful feedback.

    NYT doesn’t have its head up its ass more than the rest of them, but mostly I was spoofing the people would make it out to be the Great Satan.

  10. mk,

    Granted, but if you aren’t prepared to comment thoughtfully on something, then just leave it alone.* NYT tries to be a national publication; learn something about the nation, guys.

    *[Insert joke about irony of statement] (My reply will be snotty and aloof.)

  11. Now you’re catching on.

    “Marge, anyone can miss Canada, all tucked away down there.”

    I didn’t RTFA, but I wonder if the amounts spent include taxes

    Doesn’t the VAT crank all that stuff up? Last time I was in Canada I kept double-taking on seeing the VAT applied on my bills.

  12. NYT doesn’t have its head up its ass more than the rest of them

    Especially when I consider getting my news from any/i> television source.

    Plus, the Freakonomics blog is frequently interesting, and even the commenters on there aren’t all morons. Not as smart as you guys, though. 🙂

  13. NYT columnists are notorious even within Manhattan for being completely out-of-touch dipshits. At least Village Voice writers actually leave their apartments occasionally.

  14. I knew starting drinking this early was a bad idea. The cheap booze made me do it.

    Closed.

  15. The NYT columnists do know what happens in the rest of America.

    Every single one of them has seen Deliverance.

  16. I’m with SugarFree. Where is the data for escorts, gambling, and drugs? This “graphic” is nothing but a bunch of useless and uninteresting data! NYT sucks!!!

  17. Doesn’t the VAT crank all that stuff up? Last time I was in Canada I kept double-taking on seeing the VAT applied on my bills.

    Usually referred to as GST (Goods & Services Tax). And, yes. It’s applied nation-wide in addition to any provincial sales taxes there may be. Ex-PM Chretien famously promised to get rid of it back in the 90s, but it stuck around.

    all tucked away down there

    Now that sounds dirty, too.

  18. Take a look at this article, where they examine the startling and completely new phenomenon of the convenience store. “Wow, man… It’s like the future in here or somethin’!”

    Sugarfree,
    It’s not that convenience stores are new, it’s the trend of large supermarkets shifting more from large footprint stores to smaller stores. It would be akin to big box stores starting to focus on Sam Goody (are they still in business) sized stores and shifted focus from the massive square footage stores.

  19. Where is the data for escorts, gambling, and drugs?

    Now that would be interesting.

  20. It’s applied nation-wide in addition to any provincial sales taxes there may be

    Oh, I learned that very quickly. The Beer Store was another mind-blower for me: state-controlled liquor distribution, with super high prices. A win all around! I, however, failed to prepare by putting a baby mouse in an empty bottle and feeding it.

    Now that sounds dirty, too.

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED, at where your mind goes.

  21. What about health care? Think of the children!

    Imagine how much we would be shamefully spending if we weren’t in the worst economic downturn since the great depression? /nyaaaaaahahaha

  22. Just to note (being Irish and all) that the amounts listed do certainly include taxes, which make us and the Nordic countries look like we’re all drug addicted maniacs.

    If you look at volume, then the Germans and the Czechs actually drink more beer than the rest of us put together.

  23. The Beer Store was another mind-blower for me: state-controlled liquor distribution, with super high prices.

    Well, the Canadian motto really is “The Garbage Man Government Can!”

    And don’t forget the oh-so convenient hours. Closed on Sundays, etc, etc. If you’re strapped, you can go to a pub for off-sales. Prices still suck, though.

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED, at where your mind goes.

    What can I say? It beats thinking about the election some more.

  24. that the amounts listed do certainly include taxes

    Thanks, generick.

    In that case, I’m slightly less impressed with the alcohol & tobacco consumption, but the numbers are still interesting in that they show what people are willing to spend their money on, regardless of volumes.

  25. And don’t forget the oh-so convenient hours. Closed on Sundays, etc, etc. If you’re strapped, you can go to a pub for off-sales

    Connecticut blue laws: no Sunday sales, no holiday sales, the stores have to close by 9PM (used to be 8), no off-sales (you drink on the premises, or forget it). RI and Mass used to be similarly bad so unless you were near the NY border you couldn’t even run to another state. Mass has liberalized a little more.

    What can I say? It beats thinking about the election some more.

    Thinking about naughty things instead of the election is an excellent strategy.

    “Can you hammer a six inch spike through a board with your penis?”

    “Not right now.”

  26. Mo,

    No, the central assumption of the article was that everyone in the red states have to wander through cavernous mega-grocery stores in order to get milk; and that these new stores are filling a niche market.

    It’s the equivilent of praising small Whole Foods outlets popping up all over Manhattan and not knowing bodegas exist by the hundreds already.

  27. RI and Mass used to be similarly bad

    You New Englanders really want to be Canadian, don’t you? Or maybe it’s vice versa. If it weren’t for your cute accents and beach houses I’d feel sorry for you.

    Thinking about naughty things instead of the election is an excellent strategy.

    Thank you. It helps when the likelihood of going Full Retard is imminent.

    “Can you hammer a six inch spike through a board with your penis?”

    I had to look that one up (I’m a young’un, ok?). You have an unhealthy fascination with Val Kilmer. I may, however, co-opt that line.

  28. Deborah Foreman. [sigh] The only reason I own Valley Girl on DVD.

  29. You have an unhealthy fascination with Val Kilmer

    It’s not unhealthy, really. At least, not as unhealthy as NutraSweet’s fascination with Nick Cage.

    If it weren’t for your cute accents and beach houses I’d feel sorry for you.

    So would I. Without the shoreline, New England would be Northern NY.

    The only reason I own Valley Girl on DVD

    “A girl’s gotta have her standards.”

    P.S. You are a dork.

  30. The NYT columnists do know what happens in the rest of America.

    Every single one of them has seen Deliverance.

    Word. And an accurate depiction of a pregnant, teenage girl is Juno

  31. Deborah Foreman. [sigh] The only reason I own Valley Girl on DVD.

    SugarFree

    Hmph, you like your women sugar-free as well, I see.

  32. Paul,

    I like girls who look innocent but give off a vibe that they are a tiger in the sack. Fussy is a bonerkiller.

  33. Take a look at this article, where they examine the startling and completely new phenomenon of the convenience store. “Wow, man… It’s like the future in here or somethin’!”

    Did you even read the article? It’s talking about traditionally *large* grocers entering the small-store market.

  34. Rhywun,

    It is their complete cluelessness that equivilent things already exist is what I’m complaining about.

  35. the central assumption of the article was that everyone in the red states have to wander through cavernous mega-grocery stores in order to get milk; and that these new stores are filling a niche market

    When I grew up in the burbs every grocery store was either super-sized or a gas-station afterthought. I think they *are* filling a niche, but your hatred for NYC and the Times is clouding your judgment.

  36. “Oh, I learned that very quickly. The Beer Store was another mind-blower for me: state-controlled liquor distribution, with super high prices. A win all around!”

    Welcome to Pennsylvania. You can only buy beer buy the case unless you go to bar and pay out the nose.

  37. Rhywun,

    Where I grew up we didn’t have a grocery store the size of a small Wal-Mart until the mid-90s. I live in a suburban city of 300,000 and there are literally dozens of non-big-box places to get a fucking gallon of milk.

    See how useful anecdotes are?

    By the way, clever conflation of “a few myopic writers at the NYT” and “hatred of NYC.” Been building strawmen long? They burn real good, don’t they?

  38. NH has state controlled liquor stores, or at least they used to. Not sure about Sunday hours, if any.

    FL is a bit more loose, although some localities have restrictions – Orlando has Sunday morning and daily early morning (> 2am) blue laws. The one really silly law we have here is a bottling law that forbids 40 oz. bottles – we have quarts instead. I suspect this is why no really popular rappers have come from Florida since 2 Live Crew.

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