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Published on April 15th, 2013 | by Kelie Kyser

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Skyboxification- The Beyonce and Jay-Z Effect

Disclaimer: This post is off topic and a tad out of sync with the general purpose of the “Did You Get Your Hair Cut” blog.  I am however, curious to learn the pulse of my reader and to start a forum about relevant subject matter.  Traditional DYGYHC blog posts to follow!  Stay tuned.  I’m back on the writing bandwagon.

But in the meantime…

I read What Money Can’t Buy – The Moral Limits of Markets, a realistic and thorough account of commodification (i.e., the act of putting a price on things that are priceless).  And skyboxification, which I will fully elaborate on in a minute.

It’s no secret that those with fame and fortune have access to privilege.  But what happens when the lines between perks and inequality become blurred?   To some, the reading and the concept so far may sound a bit dry; until you apply it to a current event that is irrefutably controversial.

I’m assuming of course, that if you are a blog reader, you saturate your brain with online news and are privy to the Jay-Z-Beyonce-Cuba-farce.

[If not, please take this moment to familiarize yourself, or the rest of this post will lose the intended effect. View this short video to get up to speed :-) ]

Current  U.S. laws frown upon leisurely travel to Cuba.  In an effort to evade the politics giving rise to the uproar caused by Bey and Jay’s anniversary trip – I’ll sum it up by saying this.   Relatively speaking, the average American Joe couldn’t travel to Cuba for a romantic getaway with their spouse.  And even if said Joe did have the gall to do such a thing, more than likely it would be done secretly to avoid public outrage.   If you are unfamiliar with Cuba’s radical and oppressive past read this “Open Letter” to Jay-Z from the son of a Cuban refugee.

My purpose in writing this post is centered less on the focus of Beyonce and Jay Z’s moral compass and more to gather a consensus from my readers (whom I presume are commoners like me) about an economic theory.

Skyboxification is a term that breathes life into Beyonce and Jay Z’ brazen “above the law” exploits [read: "Open Letter"].   The trip and the overt favoritism given to celebrities in our society demarcates the haves and the have-nots.   Skyboxification refers to the disappearance of “class-mixing” among humanity; an effect of income inequality.  (Sandel, 2012)

The “skybox” that author and Harvard professor Michael Sandel references is figurative and different from the VIP section in Yankee Stadium or Coors Field.  He’s alluding to the subtle ways in which the free market economy is trickling into every facet of our existence.  In relation to the highly publicized Cuban anniversary trip mentioned above; one could argue that Beyonce and Jay-Z are so rich they are no longer held accountable to the laws the rest of us must abide by.  It appears that in this instance, they were able to purchase the right to elude protocol set in place to travel to an otherwise restricted location.

Sandel postulates, “At a time of rising inequality, the marketization of everything means that people of affluence and people of modest means lead increasingly separate lives. We live and work and shop and play in different places. Our children go to different schools. You might call it the skyboxification of American life. It’s not good for democracy, nor is it a satisfying way to live.”

Have we become a society that places a price on everything?  How weighty is the market’s hand on our ethical principles? Are the wealthy detached from conventional laws?

What can’t money buy?

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About the Author

is a reporting authority. Her talent lies in the ability to communicate succinct messages that are rich with information to a diverse audience. The Denver native holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and a master’s degree in organizational leadership.



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