Blog 4: Veblen

“Conspicuous consumption,” one of Veblen’s most pronounced and relevant observations truly paints a picture of our modern society and world. Through conspicuous consumption, people buy–most often expensive–products to help raise their status in their community as well as their self esteem. One could say that buying these highly regarded goods is how people, who are poor, try to fit in but conspicuous consumption takes a step further: after buying high status products, you buy even more in an attempt to “one up” everyone else. 

This observation is most exemplified in Apple products. So many people in America have bought at least one good from Apple that, those who have not, may feel left out and alienated. Apple products not only look appealing but are extremely expensive which means, when a person is seen with, for example, an Apple laptop, that person has gained some status because everyone knows how pricey these laptops are and can agree that they look handsome. 

In fact, there is a growing industry of stealing Apple iphones to resell to customers outside of the United States. This occurs because buying Apple products are too costly in one’s home country but buying a stolen product is cheaper. The reason why this industry has grown so much is because having an Apple product makes a statement of who you are; you look cool and therefore, are cool. As such, your status (the way people perceive you) has gone up. Further, to make yourself even better, you can buy more Apple products or whatever are the current trendy goods.


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