Lauding the Leisure Class: Symbolic Content and Conspicuous Consumption
AbstractSymbolic consumption is assessed as an evolution of previously identified conspicuous consumption, after this has undergone a “de-materialization” that is socially, as much as ecologically, driven. As Veblen observed, the shift of wealth towards new forms of physical and financial capital with industrialization compels traditional wealth-holders to redefine privilege in terms of cultural capital. Accompanying social changes enable them to do so. The limited reproducibility of items consumed for their symbolic value, and slow transmissibility of the means of symbolic consumption, force holders of new wealth to compete for status on terms set by the established leisure class. Conspicuity shifts from quantity to quality, from the appropriation of materially valued products to the appreciation of culturally valued products. This paper examines some key implications of a shift from “waste” to “taste” in conspicuous consumption for the social and natural environment, and for economic development. In particular, it explores the possibility of branded products representing the mass production of symbolic goods in high-income economies; and the brand premium's potentially beneficial consequences for global income distribution, when branded production relocates to lower-income economies in conditions of free trade.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Review of Social Economy.
Volume (Year): 62 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/RRSE20
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Fernando JARAMILLO & Hubert KEMPF & Fabien MOIZEAU, 2001. "Conspicuous Consumption, Social Status and Clubs," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 63-64, pages 321-344.
- Jon D. Wisman & Matthew Davis, 2011.
"Degraded Work, Declining Community, Rising Inequality, and the Transformation of the Protestant Ethic in America: 1870-1930,"
2011-08, American University, Department of Economics.
- Jon D. Wisman & Matthew E. Davis, 2013. "Degraded Work, Declining Community, Rising Inequality, and the Transformation of the Protestant Ethic in America: 1870–1930," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(5), pages 1075-1105, November.
- Ekinci, Yuksel & Sirakaya-Turk, Ercan & Preciado, Sandra, 2013. "Symbolic consumption of tourism destination brands," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(6), pages 711-718.
- Martha A. Starr, 2006. "Macroeconomic dimensions of social economics: Saving, the stock market, and pension systems," Working Papers 2006-09, American University, Department of Economics.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.