Arnold Kling  

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The MIT Connection... Re-Org Proposal...

Richard Bookstaber writes,

I believe we are seeing the twilight of the era of conspicuous consumption.

Jessica Wakeman writes,

Beyoncé's Birthing Suite Is Nicer Than My Apartment

Pointers from Tyler Cowen and Glenn Reynolds, respectively.

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CATEGORIES: Income Distribution

COMMENTS (6 to date)
Keith writes:

All life consumes to live and lives to consume.

Since humanity is sufficiently productive that our basic consumption needs to live can be supplied by very few, the vast majority of us will be focused on producing (and consuming) not what we absolutely have to have to live but what we want: all the things and experiences that make life a more enjoyable experience.

Glen S. McGhee writes:

"[T]wilight of the era of conspicuous consumption" ? I doubt it.

The story of Capitalism is the story of conspicuous consumption (Veblen), to one degree or another. How else do we explain the demand for stuff (that we don't need)? Capitalism's expansion depends upon it; so, if this is coming to an end, then so is capitalism.

Vadim writes:
The story of Capitalism is the story of conspicuous consumption

Capitalism? Try humanity. Even hunter-gatherer societies have positional goods.

Kevin writes:

Every so often confirmation bias makes the Bookstabers of the world conclude that reality has finally come to the realization that it needs to make some changes in the way it does things. Then someone like Beyonce comes along to remind Richard how the world really works. And hundreds of media outlets then validate the conspicuousness of the consumption. It's a beautiful thing, in a way.

Mr. Econotarian writes:

Let me know when the hip-hop videos show people performing charity or other public-minded pursuits rather than drinking overpriced vodka to obtain fashionable club seating and "making it rain".

(Public Enemy of course did have a brief time in the limelight, but today's artists would prefer to fly in their G6).

(and Keynes vs Hayek videos don't count either :)

Tracy W writes:

Judging by the birthing suite photo, Bookstaber is right. It looks like a nice room, but where is the gold-gilding? The pearls sowen into the wall-hangings? The hand-embroidered wall-hanging? The ceiling painting by Damien Hirst? The hand-carved bed frame?
I've seen royal and ducal palaces in Europe- that's conspicuous consumption. Modern elite just aren't on that scale.

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