This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Conspicuous Consumption Essay

995 words - 4 pages

In 1899 Thorstein Veblen wrote The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions. In this work, Veblen presented critical thinking that pertains to people’s habits and their related social norms. He explores the way certain people disregard the divisions that exist within the social system, while subsequently emulating certain aspects of the leisure class in an effort to present an image of higher social status. He also presented the theory of conspicuous consumption, which refers to an instance when a person can fulfill their needs by purchasing a product at a lower cost that is equal in quality and function to its more expensive counterpart; however, said person chooses to buy the more expensive product, by doing so, they are attempting to present an image of a higher social status. The almost 110 year cycle between 1899 and 2010 reveals few differences in buying behaviors, other than the differing selection of luxury goods to indulge, or over-indulge in.
It is interesting to consider Veblen’s theory of conspicuous consumption as it pertains to the modern day fashion industry, specifically the luxury fashion sector. In The Theory of the Leisure Class, Veblen said “we all find a costly hand-wrought articles of apparel much preferable to a less expensive imitation of it;” however, at the beginning of the 20th century, couture clothing was exclusively available to those who were very wealthy, simply because of how much the garments cost. By the mid-1930’s, businesses were beginning to change their ways of thinking after seeing the enormous profit that the Walt Disney Company received once they licensed the making of Mickey Mouse novelty items. Christian Dior was the first of many fashion designers to follow in the Disney Company’s footsteps, thus making luxury fashion more accessible to a wider range of consumers, as well as allowing increasing amounts of consumers to exhibit behavior that is described by Veblen’s theory of conspicuous consumption.
Veblen’s idea that consumers will pay a higher price for the prestige that is associated with a functionally equivalent product has proven to be true at an increasingly frequent rate; so much so that the concept is now known as “Veblen effects.” In regard to the relationship between luxury fashion and “Veblen effects,” the two key factors that link the two entities are, first, product accessibility and, second, the product affordability. Luxury fashion items can be acquired via several different avenues, as well as at several different price points in today’s market. Previously, the only options consumers had for the acquisition of luxury fashion goods was to purchase directly from the retail store; however, now there are an enormous amount of resources for consumers to opt for a used product at a much lower price by shopping on websites like eBay, or by purchasing from the growing amount of high-end consignment stores. Another option that luxury fashion consumers can...

Find Another Essay On Conspicuous Consumption

How far is Thorstein Veblen’s theory, that the main function of dress is the display of wealth, still valid?

1554 words - 7 pages vast changes in consumerism over the last 100 years. The paper contains many ideas and theories, but I shall focus on three: The idea that dress is an expression of pecuniary culture; the principal of conspicuous waste, conspicuous leisure and conspicuous consumption. Many academics and I share the opinion that the key principal from the text is that of conspicuous waste; In Veblen’s own words ‘It shows the wearer can afford to consume freely and

How Human Geography Shapes Society and Social Processes

1808 words - 8 pages society where the women are traditionally meant to care for their families within the household they are now doing so by providing financially for them (Knox et al. 2008). People are starting to conspicuously consume in order to show their wealth, consumption has become a means to display a consumer’s economic status (Mason 1981). Conspicuous consumption was a theory introduced by Thorstein Veblen (1915) and he suggested that we consume to show

Consumption - The Uses of Thinks. Description: it is about the se of things in our consumer world in comparison to other cultres and believes... (descripteve images are missing)

2750 words - 11 pages introduce the term "conspicuous consumption" as a description for consumption with no remaining function or use. Conspicuous consumption means consumption for the purpose of either gaining leisure or status.He claims that the origin of modern consumption, and therefore conspicuous consumption, can be found in the ancient times. Calling the pre-industrial time "quasi-peaceable stage" Veblen states that consumption was reserved for the leisure class

The Child Consumer

3782 words - 15 pages Fig.1. Consumer Kids (2009) Aiming to define the nature of the child consumer, Cook’s (2008) observation approaches a fundamental question in the study of children’s consumption: “When does a child become a consumer?”. Research into children’s consumption of clothing has yet to address intensively this question, but writings on children of conspicuous consumption, consumer culture and the commercialisation of childhood have identified the

The diseases of Hunger

561 words - 2 pages society... that had become very nearly uncontrollable," Helwig asks. She continues to say that "conspicuous consumption" had become of minimal importance. Helwig further supports her views by stating that the only "satisfactions" of the contemporary society do not exist at all. Therefore, those who choose to become deathly underweight are refusing to take part in this unreal life.Helwig also argues a third point in supporting her claim. She discusses

Households' Perceptions on Energy Consumption and Sustainable Life Styles in Zambia

1711 words - 7 pages Background Energy is the driver of global economic development and prosperity [1]. It fuels the manufacturing processes; it keeps buildings warm or cool, and powers a huge array of electrical appliances from lighting and refrigeration, through to the proliferation of modern consumer electronics [2]. As nations develop and their economies grow, so too does the consumption of resources in general and energy resources in particular. Consequently

Statement of Purpose

1006 words - 5 pages ability in him. With few exceptions, each day, he wore a crisp white uniform shirt, khakis and pristine sneakers. His classmates, also exploring their senses of fashion and self-expression, recognized him as an especially able manager of his image. Inspired by Rashawn, I currently research sneaker consumption of black men. Employing in-depth unstructured interviews and ethnographic observation, I examine how black men use sneakers to perform

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

2159 words - 9 pages recipients will changes depend on the bilateral feeling of after-purchase. (Solomon and Barmossy et al., 2006) As a consequence, this experience will impact with the purchase behavior of consumers next time. 3.2 Conspicuous consumption of Chinese consumers The reason of people consumption is to show and flaunt their powerful purchase capacity to the others instead of appreciating goods itself in terms of value. (Solomon and Barmossy et al., 2006

English Descriptive Essay

828 words - 4 pages individual that their current item is out of date and in need of the “new and improved” version. I wonder do we really need to replace our items or is it just conspicuous consumption. The advertising of products on television is in my opinion well-crafted to convince consumers to purchase their products. The first time I saw the cellphone was in a television commercial. A few weeks later I was browsing the internet and I saw another

Consumer Behavior

3589 words - 14 pages interdependency: `Self-concept is an immanent part of reference group theory and ultimately dictates our perception of brand images.' To enhance the analysis of our observations we will also look at the implications of the conspicuous consumption. This term was originally coined by Veblen (1899; as quoted in Hurst, 2007 ) as "consumption is evidence of wealth, and thus becomes honorific, and ...failure to consume a mark of

Consumer Behavior

3589 words - 14 pages interdependency: `Self-concept is an immanent part of reference group theory and ultimately dictates our perception of brand images.' To enhance the analysis of our observations we will also look at the implications of the conspicuous consumption. This term was originally coined by Veblen (1899; as quoted in Hurst, 2007 ) as "consumption is evidence of wealth, and thus becomes honorific, and ...failure to consume a mark of

Similar Essays

Conspicuous Consumption In Sinclair Lewis' Babbit

2120 words - 8 pages Conspicuous Consumption in Sinclair Lewis' Babbit      The idea of conspicuous consumption, or buying unnecessary items to show one's wealth, can be seen in Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis.  Lewis describes the main character of the book, George F. Babbitt, as a person who has his values and priorities all mixed up.  Babbitt buys the most expensive and modern material goods just to make himself happy and make people around his aware of his

Conspicuous Consumption In The Ponce De Leon Hotel

1189 words - 5 pages The Ponce de Leon Hotel first opened its doors on 1888 right in the middle of what was known as the Gilded Age, a time period that was marked by rapid industrialization, expansion of nations into a structure, free market economy with almost no regulations, rise of captains of industry, emergence of organized labor, and age of conspicuous consumption. The creator of the Ponce de Leon Hotel was Henry Flagler, one of the captains of industry who

Evaluating Attainment By Children: Bridging Conspicuous Consumption With Fundamental Elements Of Obtaining Commodities

2119 words - 9 pages Thorstein Veblen once said, “Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure” (Veblin, 1899). Respectively, Veblen argues that individuals consume commodities and services to demonstrate a high socio-economic position, from the perspective of others in society (Tepperman, Albanese, & Curtis, 2014, p. 117). This can be seen as a social problem, issues that require community acknowledgment and

Thorstein Veblen Essay

907 words - 4 pages generalist. Some claim that Thorstein Veblen was "The last man to know everything" (Larson, 1994) He earned his Ph.D.from Yale university, spoke twenty six languages, and wrote nine books, all of which are still in print.Thorstein Veblen's influences on American History began when he opened the country's eyes with his first book "The Theory of the Leisure Class". (1899) It's central concept, conspicuous consumption, is the one that is most readily