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Light Pollution - Bright Eyes
He got a nightlife, lost his dayjob
pushing paper, swinging pendulums
anything to serve a function
or to occupy some time
you gotta earn this living somehow
you're good as dead without a bank account
but it's funny how alive he felt down
in that unemployment line
Conor Oberst sings about a man who has lost his job and is now doing “anything to serve a function or to occupy some time” because he feels he must make a living somehow. Opportunity costs, as well as marginal costs and benefits must be weighed against each other to decide if the subject has made a rational decision. The lyrics indicate that the cost of his new lifestyle is a loss of income from his day job. The benefits are more leisure time and a new attitude.
Think further on what marginal benefits and the marginal costs might be for the subjects’ change of lifestyle. What are the opportunity costs? Is the subject being a rational decision maker?
Oberst also mentions the man as being in a group of unemployed individuals. One can presume that the subject is working odd jobs, or at the very least not working a stable job. Under these conditions is the subject correctly classified as unemployed?
[Provided by Emillea Cohen, Beloit College]
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