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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-14-2006, 09:29 PM   #61
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

Models blooming...

Now where's OAP when you need him... :P

I think the word conspicuous is the key part of the phrase. It impies that the consumption is a means to exhibit one's possessions...
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-14-2006, 09:54 PM   #62
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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If you want to understand the urge to compete, consider the rat. Male wild rats fight each other as a matter of course. When an adult male so much as tries to enter territory already claimed by another, there is a battle royal. The losing rat dies soon after -- not from any wounds, which are usually superficial, but from sheer humiliation. Rats, in other words, are about as competitive as you can get.

Except when they don't have to be. Put a bunch of male rats in a cage with no females, give them plenty of food, and they get along like they're on some sort of male sensitivity retreat, grooming each other and curling up together.
Rats, humans, no difference as far as I can see.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-14-2006, 10:08 PM   #63
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

I simply think humans have a strong hoarding instinct, and it goes way back. Hoard stuff so you can get through lean times. Hoard stuff so you can trade for other stuff.

The instinct to "forage" or "gather" is just super strong. I honestly think this is what some people are doing when they go shopping just to pass the time.

For so many millenia, humans had to deal with frequently not having enough, that surplus was the exception. Just like our bodies are wired to gain weight, we are wired to accumulate stuff.

It takes conscious decision making to override these instincts.

(Personally I think these instincts have nothing to do with competition for mates. Status - now that's all about competition for mates).

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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-14-2006, 10:17 PM   #64
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

Yeah, if you think about it, we all have a huge faith in the financial system to think that having a portfolio full of numbers on little pieces of paper is really the same as 'stuff'. We have transferred our need to hoard 'stuff' into this symbolic equivalent which represents 'stuff for all the years to come'.

I do it, too so I'm not saying it's wrong! Just thinking we may all be pretty much the same, only some are better with symbols and others want to have the physical goods in hand.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-14-2006, 10:45 PM   #65
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleHoney
Question.

Isn't all this spending what keeps the market growing, companies expanding and fueling the economy?

My big fear is when everyone has maxed out the CC's and exhausted the HELOC's what's going to happen.* *

Ron
For the market to grow, we want to motivate people to work hard & spend hard. The trouble is people are only spending hard, but not working hard. Also we want people to spend mostly on stuff that adds value to the world. For example spending money on improving your house is a good thing. Because someone else will pay more for the house after you've improved it.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-15-2006, 08:17 AM   #66
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

We have a street on the hillside of town, with nice views of lake Superior. The street is relatively new and people are building large fancy homes. It is called Exhibition drive. Some around here call it Exhibitionist drive. Maybe they can afford their fancy homes just fine. Maybe they are or maybe they are not trying to prove anything. Either way it is consumption and it is conspicious.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-15-2006, 09:11 AM   #67
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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Originally Posted by audreyh1
The instinct to "forage" or "gather" is just super strong. I honestly think this is what some people are doing when they go shopping just to pass the time.

It takes conscious decision making to override these instincts.
I was grocery shopping on morning a couple years back. There was a late middle aged woman that I repeatedly ran across as I wandered the aisles. Just about every time I saw her she was staring at or holding a some expensive product. If it was ketchup, she was holding the most expensive brand. If she was perusing the cheese, it was the $5-10/lb types. I met up with her again at the checkout counter. Her basket was loaded with all the very best. She looked content, with what I supposed was a strong feeling of satisfation.

Now she may have just been getting what her husband liked and was happy to please him. I don't know for sure what was going on in her head. All I saw were her behaviors and glow.

But . . . I suspect that she had received some sort of superficial satisfaction with the entire process. That at each stop from her list to look at a selection of products, she chose the most expensive. She was trying to repeatedly give herself the greatest satisfaction thru the process selecting "the best" each time. This small satisfation was repeated over and over until she was done: one small "poof of emotional excitment" again and again.

She didn't hunt for the best deal or the best deal for the money--as I saw things. She hunted for the most expensive product.

While waiting in line at the next counter, I thought "this woman is in bondage to these repetitous buying experiences." Of course, I exaggerated it further: She spends her life in bondage to those brief, tiny experiences of shopping pleasure, those emotional lifts; its not the things she buys, its those little pleasures she sets up for her self that she has to have, that she is addicted to, not the things she buys.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-15-2006, 09:15 AM   #68
 
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

god, for a minute there, I thought you were going to tell us that they named Exhibitionist drive after you!
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-15-2006, 09:21 AM   #69
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

HFWR
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I think the word conspicuous is the key part of the phrase. It impies that the consumption is a means to exhibit one's possessions...
I remember taking classes in cultural anthropology in college. Seemed 'every' culture had a mid-winter celebration of some sort where the chief or head of the village would 'conspicuously consume' blankets, oil, stored food or the like by burning it or giving it away to neighboring villages, etc.* This was to show his power, his generosity and so on..

It seemed so counter intuitive, but the ceremony was to represent belief in the future - in the fact that spring (and opportunities to collect once again) would return.

I often wondered if the hyper spending of cash at Christmas/Hannukah time was similar to this - the conspicuous consumption that our society shows, believing that our ability to make $$ and pay our bills would return...

Just a thought. *I agree, 'conspicuous' is the key part of the phrase.

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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-15-2006, 10:31 AM   #70
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

On collecting stuff and then downsizing:

I just spent way too much time at Michael Wolf's photography website.* I'm not sure which is more fascinating: the people who managed to fill their space up to the ceiling or the people who kept relatively little.*
For example, compare #95 and #83 to #76.

===
Photographs of residents in their flats in
Hong Kong's oldest public housing estate:
100 rooms,
each 100 square feet in size.
===
http://www.photomichaelwolf.com/100x100/


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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-15-2006, 11:27 AM   #71
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
god, for a minute there, I thought you were going to tell us that they named Exhibitionist drive after you!
CT:

I guess I was off-topic again . I guess what I was describing was more obsessive consumption rather than conspicuous consumption. But they're related to my mind. I have a friend who likes cars--alot. When some fancy thing drives by, his head whips round, and I watch, empathizing to a certain extent, and also enjoy the beauty of it moving past. Each of us has our own emotional experience. I don't too much care about the looks of car but I still enjoy new, good looking cars more than rattletrap junkers. I think he has an intense and lingering emotion when a beautiful car goes by; he has a far more intense experience than me. I feel and think 'nice'--and not much more about cars.

Everybody is different. My point earlier was describing how sometimes consumption can go awry. Only the experiencer of the emotion knows for sure.

But I'm sure I'd have a really intense experience if a $10/lb cheese car drove by.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-15-2006, 11:39 AM   #72
 
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

Greg,

I was referring to martha's post. I thought you might be doing a little streaking in the neighborhood.

Quote:
We have a street on the hillside of town, with nice views of lake Superior. The street is relatively new and people are building large fancy homes. It is called Exhibition drive. Some around here call it Exhibitionist drive. Maybe they can afford their fancy homes just fine. Maybe they are or maybe they are not trying to prove anything. Either way it is consumption and it is conspicious. Smiley
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-15-2006, 12:21 PM   #73
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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Originally Posted by ESRBob
We have transferred our need to hoard 'stuff' into this symbolic equivalent which represents 'stuff for all the years to come'.
I do it, too so I'm not saying it's wrong! Just thinking we may all be pretty much the same, only some are better with symbols and others want to have the physical goods in hand.
"Virtual stuff"-- the new new thing!

Oh, wait, it's already being done...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apocalypse . . .um . . .SOON
I don't too much care about the looks of car but I still enjoy new, good looking cars more than rattletrap junkers.
I still enjoy the spectacle of a 40-year-old VW camper van blasting off from a stop light and blazing from zero to 40 in... wait a bit... almost there... here it comes... 55 seconds!
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-15-2006, 12:35 PM   #74
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
Greg,

I was referring to martha's post. I thought you might be doing a little streaking in the neighborhood.
CT: I got so excited about cheese cars that I went up and bought four Parmasan wheels from the grocery store. Wanna help me build a car? We could drive around pants-less . . . umm . . . with our wives in the back and the cool breezes of the lake. We wouldn't even have to stop for snacks!

--Bad, Greg, Bad--go away now
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-15-2006, 01:17 PM   #75
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

I try to follow Plato's Hierarchy as best I can. He doesn't worry about Darwinian evolution and such stuff. The formula basically goes this way:

1) The appetitive portion of our reality--1/3.
2) The spirited portion of our reality--1/3
3) The mental : portion of our reality--1/3

Each portion is different from but related to each of the others. If one is overwhelmed by the appetitve portion of one's reality, one's heart begins to be drawn toward serving that developing master; one's mind begins to serve the appetites too, working for, say, not a greater good but for the acquisition of more goodies. One can imagine the consequences of such a life.

If one is always powerfully stirred by emotions, the spirited part, then the appetites start to serve those spirits, as does the mind. One might go out shopping, for example, and not care about the product so much as the feeling its purchase brings to one's self.

So too with the mental portion if ones' own ideas and thoughts become too important and the spiritual or spirited side whithers as well as the appetitive part.

Plato sees a balance of these three elements as most important--a moderation. And the way to accomplish this is thru the secret forth element of . . . altruism and Liberal-ness (and one other thing), plus non-self interest.

A suprise for CT
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-15-2006, 01:31 PM   #76
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

Boy o boy - you guys up in Minnesota need to play more pinochle in Winter or something - when not snowbirding.

Did Plato vote Democratic? Did he throw in a couple bucks for the beer keg down at the union hall after the polls closed?

Those are the important questions.

Of course - a good INTJ standing around thinking isn't spending money - usually. Was Plato left handed?

heh heh heh heh
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-15-2006, 04:09 PM   #77
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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Originally Posted by unclemick2
Did Plato vote Democratic? Did he throw in a couple bucks for the beer keg down at the union hall after the polls closed?

heh heh heh heh
unclemick:

I don't think he liked democracy too much. But he liked it alot more than tyranny. He thought maintaining and nurturing the whole was more important than any one particular thing inside it. He'd be a moderate Republican or moderate Democrat by nature--but always on the prowl for better ideas than the ones in vogue. He described the drinking parties and said a good drunk about once a year could be a healthy learning experience. Who could argue with that?

Or he might just drink the hemlock kool-aide.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-16-2006, 08:11 AM   #78
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

This thread has been very interesting to me.

Question to those who have kids and grandkids: As a child, most of the things I really wanted came from seeing other kids in my neighborhood or at school getting them first, not from advertizing. Some kid got a new 10-speed bike and I wanted one too, although I remember watching Daniel Boone and wanting a gun. But I don't remember ever seeing a TV advertisement and wanting that product. I'm wondering how much children seem to be directly affected by TV advertizing nowadays?

--Greg
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-16-2006, 08:15 AM   #79
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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Originally Posted by Apocalypse . . .um . . .SOON
This thread has been very interesting to me.*

Question to those who have kids and grandkids:* As a child, most of the things I really wanted came from seeing other kids in my neighborhood or at school getting them first, not from advertizing.* Some kid got a new 10-speed bike and I wanted one too, although I remember watching Daniel Boone and wanting a gun.* But I don't remember ever seeing a TV advertisement and wanting that product.* I'm wondering how much children seem to be directly affected by TV advertizing nowadays?

--Greg
The anecdotal stuff and limites research I have seen suggests that ads, especially on TV, have a strong effect on kids. Thus far, we have severely restricted our 2 YOs exposure to TV for exactly that reason. The TV was off if she was in the room up until age 2. Now she watches a half-hour a day of "Sesame Street", but only with DW's supervision. DS has told me that even with this supposedly educational program, kiddo turns into a zombie in front of it if just left there. If DW stays there and interatcs with her, kiddo actually jumps around, sings along, etc.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-16-2006, 09:20 AM   #80
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apocalypse . . .um . . .SOON
This thread has been very interesting to me.

Question to those who have kids and grandkids: As a child, most of the things I really wanted came from seeing other kids in my neighborhood or at school getting them first, not from advertizing. Some kid got a new 10-speed bike and I wanted one too, although I remember watching Daniel Boone and wanting a gun. But I don't remember ever seeing a TV advertisement and wanting that product. I'm wondering how much children seem to be directly affected by TV advertizing nowadays?

--Greg
Are you saying that consumerism is partially caused by wanting what your friends (and enemies, or even strangers) have that you don't? Wow! Never thought of that.... :P
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