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madbomber

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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. read more


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