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American Expenditure on EntertainmentExpenditure by the average American consumer unit (henceforth household) each year is substantial compared to what the poor in the world spend. Of the 200 million or so rich people globally, Americans make up the majority; in this decade, as determined by those in the World Data Lab, “the world’s top market segment will be America’s rich” (italicization added). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey (BLS CEX), entertainment spending made up 5.3% of the total average annual expenditure of American households in 2018. American spending on entertainment is considerable.

Collectively: Average American Households

Looking at the CEX, in 2018, average annual expenditures rose to $61,224, compared to $60,060 the year before. More specifically, spending on entertainment (EE) increased to $3,226, from $3,203 in 2017. (Inflation was higher than expenditure numbers in 2018. Nevertheless, consider that thousands of dollars went toward entertainment.) There were 131,439,000 households in the U.S. in 2018. When one multiplies that number by EE, one gets $424,022,214,000; hundreds of billions of dollars were spent on entertainment.

That amount of money is more considerable than the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 for the entire country of the United Arab Emirates (where Dubai and the tallest building in the world are), which was over $421 billion.

So what does the category of entertainment expenditure include in the BLS CEX?

  1. Fees and admissions, including admissions to sporting events and movies; fees for social organizations; recreational lessons; and recreation expenses on trips.

  2. Television, radio and sound equipment, including video game hardware and musical instruments.

  3. Pets, toys, hobbies and playground equipment.

  4. Other entertainment equipment and services, including indoor exercise equipment, camping equipment, boats, photographic equipment and supplies and fireworks.

Just $2 billion of the $72.56 billion that Americans spent on pets in 2018 is what Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, was at a minimum seeking to raise as of 7 August. That amount could immunize both those with high susceptibility to the coronavirus and health care workers in Gavi-supported countries, with doses that would be available for use where needed most. Gavi is a public-private partnership that has helped to immunize hundreds of millions of children since 2000; partners include the World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

America’s Rich

By the end of 2020, there will be an average of $194 to spend per day per wealthy American; this is put forth in a Brookings Institution blog. Possibly an appropriate juxtaposition, in 2018, households and non-profit institutions serving households (NPISHs) final consumption expenditure per capita was $189 in Burundi, a country where most of the population is poor and which has the second lowest GDP in the world.

Using data from the 2018 CEX, one may learn something else concerning American expenditure on entertainment. The top 10% of highest income (before taxes) households in the U.S. had an average of 3.2 persons and spent an average annual expenditure of $142,554. That amounted to around $122 spent per day per person: each person spent approximately $6.64 a day on entertainment. Notice that the $122 is less than the $194 of America’s wealth. 

If each of the 42,134,400 persons of the above top 10% were to have given around $1.20, less than a fifth of what they expended on average on entertainment per day, that would be enough (at least in hard numbers) to meet the net funding requirements from June to November of this year about the World Food Programme in Burundi.

The Bigger Picture

Entertainment may not in and of itself be bad or good. One way that American expenditure on entertainment affects Americans is the amount of time they spend on entertainment. For example, in 2019, the BLS reports that watching television on average took up the most leisure time. Although Americans possibly can inform themselves about the poor in the world via television, Americans could use some of the time spent watching television to ask their representatives to support legislation that could help reduce poverty.

Kylar Cade
Photo: Flickr

5_African_Musicians_to_Rock_Out_to_P_Square
It is important to realize that music is much more than entertainment.  Music says something about our heritage, our culture, and the kinds of people we strive to be.  Also important to note, music exists with a wide variation throughout the world.  Sure, the British invasion was one great example America witnessed. But let’s take a look at some contemporary acts you may not be familiar with.  In the spirit of representing the diversity of cultures and heritages that meet in Africa, here are five notable African musicians that you should be adding to your iPod.

1. P-Square

If you are in the mood for some R&B, check out Nigerian duo P-Square.  Peter and Paul Okoye are identical twins, hence the name P-Square.  With six albums (including a greatest hits compilation), and a record deal with famous Senegalese-American rapper/singer Akon, P-Square has quite the resume.

2. Koffi Olomide

Hailing from the Congo, Olomide is known for combining traditionally Latin grooves with African dance music.  In particular, Olomide’s style is considered to be soukous, which has its roots in rumba.  His lyricism and vocals have been highly praised by music critics across the globe.

3. D’banj

D’banj’s blend of Afro-Beats with electronic music caught the eye of hip-hop virtuoso Kanye West.  In 2011, D’banj signed with West’s GOODMusic label.  He is also well known for his humanitarian efforts as Nigeria’s Youth Ambassador for Peace to the United Nations.

4. Jose Chameleone

Jose Chameleone is a Ugandan musician known for mixing folk music with reggae and Latin influences.  Singing in English, Swahili, and Luganda (the major language of Uganda), Chameleone shows how he can “blend in” with multiple cultures.

5. Yvonne Chaka Chaka

A South African singer of the Mbaqanga genre, Chaka Chaka is both a musician and a scholar who teaches literature at the University of South Africa.  Mbaqanga is a style sometimes considered to be like jazz, but has roots in traditional Zulu music.  Chaka Chaka has been active in the South African music scene since 1985, and has a tremendous catalog.

Taylor Diamond

Sources: All Africa, The African Economist
Photo: LifeStyle

foxconn_employees_china
With the holiday season approaching, big-ticket items, such as the forthcoming Sony Playstation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One, are being rapidly assembled in Chinese manufacturing plants. The retail values are $399 and $499 respectively, but the cost shows little of the true price one pays.

Sony has come under scrutiny recently for their partnership with Foxconn, the largest electronics manufacturer in the world. At Foxconn’s Yantai plant, students are reportedly being forced to assemble the gaming console, or risk failing their courses.

The students claim they were offered unpaid internships, but were given manual labor instead of tasks related to their field of study. If the students refused, they were threatened with losing six credits.

This is not the first occurrence of unfair labor practices by Foxconn. In January, workers making the Xbox console threatened a mass suicide over staffing assignments. In September of last year, about 2,000 workers rioted over unfair wages and work conditions.

Sony has said in a statement that it “expects its suppliers, including Foxconn, to fully comprehend and comply” with its supplier code of conduct, and they “are in communication with Foxconn and are investigating the matter.”

Microsoft, while not addressing Foxconn directly, has said that their Code of Conduct is enforced by contract, and “If our strict standards are not met, suppliers risk business restrictions or termination of their contract.”

– David Smith

Sources: The Daily Mail, Washington Post
Photo: Japan Focus