March 2, 2012
The Art of Well-Being and Economics in the Euro Zone
By Cindy Ivanac-Lillig
What do art and economics have in common? Not that much I thought. However, I recently found a Wall Street Journal photo essay (interactive graphic) on “Life in the Euro Zone,” which depicts what life looks for a handful of ordinary families in light of the recent austerity measures and general economic uncertainty. This photo essay does something that many economists are lousy at doing – connecting to people and families and ultimately explaining why all this matters. Why does economic policy matter?
It matters because there is a child who is growing up surrounded by anxiety and fear, a generation of young men who can’t find a way to support themselves, a generation of retirees who may not know the calm of reflection and retirement, a generation of youth who dream of moving, and families who are deciding how many children to bring into the world based on how much opportunity they think they can provide.
It is a beautiful piece that also happens to do a great job of weaving in some good economic indicators throughout the slideshow. I especially want you to note the following charts: Economic Sentiment Index, Long-Term Unemployment ( >12 month), Percentage of Women in Labor Force, Unemployment of Young Men, and Social Spending as a Percentage of GDP. Interesting stuff.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. If you find anything interesting that attempts to bring to life some of our economic indicators and policy outcomes here in the U.S., I would be very interested to hear about it. Macroeconomic policy can sort of be boiled down to asking everyone, “What is your life like now and what do you think the future holds?” And as it turns out, maybe artists can teach us something about how to communicate this...
So, what do you think? How differently did you look at the economic indicators in this photo essay because they were embedded in the story of a real family?
Posted by Cindy at March 2, 2012 10:03 PM
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