Sep 02 2014

Veblen Reflection Post

Published by at 7:48 pm under Reflection Blog

The point that Thorstein Veblen underlines in his essay “Conspicuous Consumption” is that spending is a method of displaying social class. This can mean purchasing expensive luxury items such as a Rolex wristwatch or a flashy sports car to establish one own’s social standing and wealth. In other words, conspicuous consumption is the purposeful buying of expensive and perhaps frivolous items to boast economic power. Thus, the highest social class- in his words the ‘leisure class’- is defined by its capacity and tendency to exhibit prestige. Veblen posits that this frivolous spending coincides with narcissistic behaviors.

The bottom line in Veblen’s eyes is that this spending can either denote a waste of time and money or of goods and thus is purely meant to show off and boost social position.

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