The political economy of geekdom

The basket of goods and services chosen by Britain’s Office for National Statistics to calculate inflation provides a geek’s-eye view of the way we live. But it also reveals a kind of truth. Each year the list is updated to reflect spending habits, providing a glimpse of the nation’s changing soul, as expressed through its wallet.

This week, online dating was included for the first time.

Tim Harford is back to blogging.

Thinking through the political economy, he suspects detect a hidden agenda:

Might not Britain’s lonely and lovelorn statisticians have an ulterior motive for combing over the mountains of data churned out by these dating media? Indeed, knowing the romantic insights these might allow them to exploit, might they not have lobbied hard to include them in the basket?

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