This is a very interesting topic that I can write about for hours. Conspicuous consumption has been going on for centuries. I see it as the more you gain, the more you want. There seems to be no end in the wanting. Society has been brainwashed to a certain degree. Example, technology, such as mobile telephones, iPads, computers, televisions and vehicles are forever changing with subtle differences.
However, most people have to have the latest and what they think is the greatest new gadget on the market, until a “new and improved” model debuts a month later. Veblen stated in so many words that people from the lower class are in constant perpetual competition with one another in obtaining the higher status amongst them. Some people use the aforementioned “latest” gadgets as a sign of prosperity and superiority over their neighbors, classmates or co-workers. People living in the same neighborhood, compete with their neighbors when one neighbor purchases a new vehicle,they get a grander vehicle, get a home make-over or enhance their curb appeal, they do they same. Veblen states that people will pay a higher price tag for a high-end item, just to say that they paid so much for it and feel as though they are in some exclusive unobtainable club. Meanwhile, the manufacturers, designers and creators of said items are laughing all the way to the bank, because they know that certain people will be pay an exorbitant amount on high-end goods just to stay ahead of the “Jones’s”.
I would like to also mention that I found it very interesting that through the centuries what the Aristocrats chose as a profession has changed. Prime example, in 16th perhaps through the 18th centuries and prior to the industrial revolution when the “Monarchy” was still the end all, be all, Aristocrats (ruling class), they were involved in warfare, hunting and weaponry, while the lower class were working in the fields, homes and tending to the aristocratic families.
In modern times (21st century), those same chosen professions of the ruling class would be looked down upon by the modern-day aristocrats (wealthy Americans). The word leisure makes one think of taking one’s time, going at your own pace, setting your own rules and working if you choose, which is how most rich and super rich Americans live their lives. It is ironic to what Veblen defined the Leisure class to be.