The recession and conspicuous consumption?

The recession and conspicuous consumption?

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In my day job, customer service, I see increasing hard times. People are always struggling, but I'm seeing much more of that recently. I hear that recession might go two or three years, and it won't be pretty. (I do have confidence in the Obama team to contain the damage.)

However, some folks have cash in the bank, and prices are going down, and they can take advantage of that. There are people who buy stuff as a matter of status and prestige. (As a nerd, I don't quite get that, like a lot of other stuff I miss.)

In bad times, this kind of consumption may get more visible or less visible.

I wonder, what happens this time? Will people with money show it off, hunker down, or maybe share the wealth?

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11 Comments

Rodney Rumford

Craig,
Those people that "show it off" are the economic drivers that propel the economy forward and create jobs.
They are not showing off or sharing the wealth as you put it; they are the engine that drives the economy.
Consumption is a good thing. Without it we have a failed economy.
Just my thoughts.

Michele McLellan

Craig: Good question. Can't speak for others…. For myself, I don't have a lot of spare money (my retirement now fading into the distance :-) but I am not broke either.
My idea is to cut back as much as possible AND to try to make or forgo purchases that make sense in our current economic situation.
An example: The decision to buy or not buy a new car right now if you can wait a couple of years with the old model.
Buying now might help auto industry. Then again, waiting until automakers retool for more energy efficient cars is a good decision too. Just an example of a way of thinking about multiple dimensions of spending right now.
Similarly, paying a little more for a US manufactured item might make sense right now to support workers who may have less of a net than some of us.
I don't agree with the view that only big spenders drive the economy. Many of them drive large credit card debt and that's not good for any of us.

Raia

Hi Craig, so far it *feels* like people are more hunkering down… unfortunately!
The media doesn't help this at all w/all of their gloom and doom forcasts… although there *are* very terrible things happening to a *lot* of people and it's worse than ever, not everyone is feeling the pinch and hopefully won't…
If people want to change things, they can make a difference by emailing their local news stations and asking them for some "good" economy stories… they do exist!
People are so easily lead by what they hear/read… the media is very, very powerful.
Yes! C'mon January 20th! :)
Have a great day!

JoAnna Levenglick

"Change" is the theme of the new President of the US, Barack Obama. That not only has to do with politics, but also personal consumption. The citizens of the US and those people around the world are finally leaning what terrible things over consumption can do.
Awareness about our economy and what has happened to such once great companies like GM can only teach us that we must be careful, and be on top of every purchase we make. We must ask ourselves, can we afford it, and why do I need it? It is nice that there are good deals out there in the stores, but if
you don't need it…so what!
This is a time for change, not only with spending and over consumption, but also bringing all of us together and to help those who are less fortunate than us.
JoAnna Levenglick

Rodney Rumford

UPDATE: I don't think so, sounds like you made well thought out decisions.
Craig,
So does me buying a new iPhone and a new Mac this month make me a conspicuous consumer appealing to a status play?
Seriously. I did not need either. Rather I wanted them for other reasons; more computing power and better connectivity while mobile? I could have survived just fine with out either purchase.
So does this fall into the "showing off" category?

nemrut

UPDATE: no, I was looking for a cheap version of a normally mid priced watch.
werent you the guy who recently was in search of a high-priced watch?

Delia

re: "I wonder, what happens this time? Will people with money show it off, hunker down, or maybe share the wealth?"
oh, I don't know… what are *you* going to do? *lol* talking of which, where are the fees from Erotic Services really going?
re: "That money will be donated to charities that address human trafficking and child exploitation, Buckmaster said. But the charities haven’t been chosen. That was one reason Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum would not join his 40 colleagues in supporting the changes at Craigslist — it’s unclear where that money will go, and how it will be distributed."
(Abigail Goldman in Las Vegas Sun: "Hawking erotic services? Craigslist now has your number" — and *your money!" I might add …D.)
Delia
P.S. Nemrut: notice how Craig is implying that he can only afford "the cheap version of a mid priced watch" (just how stupid does he think his readers are?) D.

Candyhog

Wow, who knew there was such a raw nerve out there about the right to shop! I think in 6 months it might strike people as more of a privelege, and they might have more empathy and less defensiveness.

dimon

Worrying about consumerism is a luxury for the employed. Craigslist isn't helping. The site has a symbiotic relationship with self-serving staffing agencies and spammers that flood the employment section. The economic downturn gives you a prime opportunity to change this. Maybe then Craigslist can help more of us do our civic duty, getting jobs so we can run to the nearest mall and blow every paycheck.

WoW Gold

The recession really is affecting everyone globally. Everyone should be helping each other to make it through, specially the government.

warcraft gold

We are all looking forward for us to cope up with the crisis. If the wealthy people wants to show off their money, it's pointless anyway coz they are not doing any good to the economy. well..unless they share it. ^^

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