HOW SUPERMODELS ARE LIKE TOXIC ASSETS
July 16, 2010 9:42 AM Subscribe
There is very little intrinsic value in Coco Rocha's physique that would set her apart from any number of other similarly-built teens.
posted by VikingSword (60 comments total)
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'When dealing with symbolic goods like “beauty” and “fashionability,” we would be hard pressed to identify objective measures of worth inherent in the good itself.' 'The social world of fashion markets reveals how market actors think collectively to make decisions in the face of uncertainty. And this social side of markets, it turns out, is key to understanding how investors could trade securities backed with “toxic” subprime mortgage assets leading us into the 2009 financial crisis.' 'In 2002, a tall and skinny 14-year old girl
competed in a dance contest in Vancouver, Canada. There she encountered a modeling agent, who asked her to consider going out for modeling jobs. Today, the 22-year-old Coco Rocha
is celebrated as a “supermodel”'.
'Coco is what economists would call a winner in a “winner-take all market,” prevalent in culture industries like art and music, where a handful of people reap very lucrative and visible rewards while the bulk of contestants barely scrape by meager livings before they fade into more stable and far less glamorous careers. The presence of such spectacular winners like Coco Rocha raises a great sociological question: how, among the thousands of wannabe models worldwide, is any one 14 year-old able to rise from the pack? What makes Coco Rocha more valuable than the thousands of similar contestants? How, in other words, do winners happen?'
'The economist John Maynard Keynes likened finance markets to casinos, in that both are based in speculation. To illustrate, Keynes drew on newspaper beauty contests from the 1930s, where readers were asked to rate the contestants, but with a catch.'