Nov 13, 2010

Why does taste and luxury disappear with development?

Why do hotels and restaurants offer so much more in developing countries than in rich mature ones? I’ve never seen such beautiful hotels as those I stayed in in Mexico and Indonesia, and I never eaten as well as in Madagascar, where zebu carpaccio and foie gras à la mangue are de rigueur. Ingredients are fresh and tasty, service is impeccable, and bathrooms are surreal. In rich countries such as Switzerland, service is boring at its best, food, even in the most expensive places, is ordinary, and hotels lack luster.

One reason why this is the case, as noted by Tyler Cowen, is that poor countries have abundant cheap labor. But still, aren’t we missing something is we say bye to the best things in life by developing?

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