Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Friday, June 16, 2017

Elizabeth Currid-Halkett: The democratization of consumer goods has made them far less useful as a means of displaying status. In the face of rising social inequality, both the rich and the middle classes own fancy TVs and nice handbags. They both lease SUVs, take airplanes and go on cruises. On the surface, the ostensible consumer objects favored by these two groups no longer reside in two completely different universes. This new elite cements its status through prizing knowledge and building cultural capital, not to mention the spending habits that go with it -- preferring to spend on services, education and human-capital investments over purely material goods. These new status behaviors are what I call "inconspicuous consumption." None of the consumer choices that the term covers are inherently obvious or ostensibly material but they are, without question, exclusionary.

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Couple of interesting things popped out. First was the fact that middle income consumers are matching high income consumers in material purchases, while purchases by high income earners is on the decline and being replaces with non-material purchases. The second thing was the recognition of what indicates conspicuous consumption. I see it when people who aren't particularly active buy pricey brands at places like REI, that wouldn't be widely recognized in your average trailer park. But I'm sure that there are different indicators in each demographic.

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Tile should read: The subtle, new ways the rich signal their wealth.

#1 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-06-15 04:34 PM | Reply

Tile(sp) should read: You think you are poor? You should just thank the wealthy you aren't living in Bangladesh!

#2 | Posted by Corky at 2017-06-15 05:54 PM | Reply

Jesus effin christ. What a stupid effin article.

#3 | Posted by Angrydad at 2017-06-15 05:55 PM | Reply

Tile(sp) should read: You think you are poor? You should just thank the wealthy you aren't living in Bangladesh!

Why would wealthy people have any influence on where you live?

If you live in Bangladesh, do you not thank the wealthy people?

Are you confused again?

"Jesus effin christ. What a stupid effin article."

Stupid? How?

Was it poorly written? Are the authors conclusions incorrect? What?

#4 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-06-15 06:34 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

People that signal their wealth are posers. The worst paint their house gold.

#5 | Posted by bored at 2017-06-15 07:31 PM | Reply | Funny: 1 | Newsworthy 4

"People that signal their wealth are posers. The worst paint their house gold."

Do you know how much money you would need if you wanted to paint a house in an affluent neighborhood gold? Lots. The HOA would be out to crucify you. And you'd likely need a squad of Blackwater contractors to protect you from your irate neighbors.

#6 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-06-15 09:28 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

I was referring to Trump, that classless turd in gold leaf.

#7 | Posted by bored at 2017-06-15 10:08 PM | Reply | Funny: 1 | Newsworthy 2

The premise of the article is flawed in a way that seems intentional. The difference between rich and middle class hasn't been consumer goods for decades. Mass production is hardly new.

Consumer electronics always become more accessible once manufacturers figure out how to produce the latest technology more efficiently. There are still higher end models that are better than the "fancy TVs" most people own. But TVs are not sign of wealth.

$400 handbags were never a sign of wealth either.

Silly claim.

#8 | Posted by Sully at 2017-06-16 10:15 AM | Reply

$400 handbags are a sign of a waste of money.

#9 | Posted by kwrx25 at 2017-06-16 10:43 AM | Reply

"$400 handbags are a sign of a waste of money."

Not for some. For my SIL, it's two hours' pay.

#10 | Posted by Danforth at 2017-06-16 10:53 AM | Reply

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$400 handbags are a sign of a waste of money.

#9 | Posted by kwrx25 at 2017-06-16 10:43 AM | Reply | Flag:

I never understood the appeal.

Most of those handbags look the same and are ugly as hell too. What's the appeal of a drab handbag with some corporate logo plastered all over it?

Even the names suck. Gucci and Louis Vuitton sound like the names of people you'd see on Jersey Shore.

"Hey, stay out the smoosh room. Gucci's in there with Louie Vuitton. Yeah, that guy she met when she was taking a crap under the boardwalk...."

#11 | Posted by Sully at 2017-06-16 11:13 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

Do you know how much money you would need if you wanted to paint a house in an affluent neighborhood gold?

Not that much. www.behr.com

About $140 for five gallons at the Home Depot.

#12 | Posted by 726 at 2017-06-16 11:27 AM | Reply

= Why would wealthy people have any influence on where you live?

You count on them to Tinkle Down on you.... maybe some day they actually will. Not.

#13 | Posted by Corky at 2017-06-16 12:13 PM | Reply

The only difference between a $400 handbag and a $20 handbag is the moron paying $400 for a $20 handbag

#14 | Posted by hatter5183 at 2017-06-16 04:15 PM | Reply

"I never understood the appeal."

You're a dude, right. That's why you've never understood the appeal. I've never understood it either.

#15 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-06-16 04:20 PM | Reply

"The only difference between a $400 handbag and a $20 handbag is the moron paying $400 for a $20 handbag"

The handbag is only worth $20. The label represents the remaining $380.

#16 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-06-16 04:22 PM | Reply

A high end education, having a well known charity foundation, and having a helicopter on lease are still ways to establish ones wealth.

#17 | Posted by Tor at 2017-06-16 05:16 PM | Reply

As Don McLean sang,

"The more you pay, the more it's worth."

#18 | Posted by Whizzo at 2017-06-16 05:19 PM | Reply

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