My interpretation of what interests and confounds me ....

Friday, November 27, 2009

The tyranny of melancholy

Its a well known fact that depiction of disasters, misfortunes, catastrophes, squalor etc. elicit more oohs and aahs than refined portrayals. Slumdog Millionaire is a case in point. Guess it has to do with the human primordial instinct (the id) of helping out the 'down-in-the-dumps' guy. The well-off can, in any case, take care of themselves!

It is also an accepted maxim that the 3Ds - death, debt and divorce offer the most fertile breeding ground for art to germinate and consequentially prosper. No wonder then, that most of the exorbitantly expensive (and, therefore logically, fashionable!) art would radiate pessimism than optimism.

It seems the 'tyranny of the melancholy' has another votary in the Prize committee that selects the Economist(s) for the honour of the Nobel Prize. With a slim variance, the winners in this category for the last several years have all been social economists who have theorised about concepts varying from economic governance (this years winners) to trade patterns (Paul Krugman-2008) to welfare economics (our very own Amartya Sen - 1998). One of the few exception has been Joe Stiglitz ( who alongwith his co-researchers won the prize in 2001 for the study on markets with asymmetric information). I guess, with that attitude wired into the psyche of the deciders, guys like Parasuraman, Zeithaml & Berry, who postulated the stunningly simple concept of Service Quality that determines the level of appreciation that a customer has to a product/service, through what is known as the gap model (the difference between the performance of the product/service and the expectation of the customer), don't stand a chance. Tough luck guys! Start researching on the 'ugly underbelly' variety of topics. You may probably hit the bullseye.

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