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What Price Fame?

What Price Fame?

Tyler Cowen

ISBN 9780674008090

Publication date: 03/08/2002

In a world where more people know who Princess Di was than who their own senators are, where Graceland draws more visitors per year than the White House, and where Michael Jordan is an industry unto himself, fame and celebrity are central currencies. In this intriguing book, Tyler Cowen explores and elucidates the economics of fame.

Fame motivates the talented and draws like-minded fans together. But it also may put profitability ahead of quality, visibility above subtlety, and privacy out of reach. The separation of fame and merit is one of the central dilemmas Cowen considers in his account of the modern market economy. He shows how fame is produced, outlines the principles that govern who becomes famous and why, and discusses whether fame-seeking behavior harmonizes individual and social interests or corrupts social discourse and degrades culture.

Most pertinently, Cowen considers the implications of modern fame for creativity, privacy, and morality. Where critics from Plato to Allan Bloom have decried the quest for fame, Cowen takes a more pragmatic, optimistic view. He identifies the benefits of a fame-intensive society and makes a persuasive case that however bad fame may turn out to be for the famous, it is generally good for society and culture.

Praise

  • Primarily a look at the economic implications of our fame-driven culture, this compelling book, which reads like a long essay, also offers a philosophical meditation on the social and moral impact of fame on our public and private lives...[Cowen's] graceful prose and refreshing perspective on the occasionally bizarre effects of capitalism will be enough to engage thoughtful readers.

    —Publishers Weekly

Author

  • Tyler Cowen is Professor of Economics at George Mason University.

Book Details

  • 320 pages
  • 5-1/16 x 7-15/16 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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