Modern Veblen: Determinants of Conspicuous Consumption

At Marginal Revolution, Alex Tabarrok has an interesting post about black/white differences in what Thorstein Veblen called conspicuous consumption. It begins:

Several years ago Bill Cosby chided poor blacks for spending their limited incomes on high-priced shoes and other items of conspicuous consumption instead of investing in education.

The comments are fascinating, including this:

Merely being white is a way of signaling wealth. If you don’t believe it, visit Peru.

4 Replies to “Modern Veblen: Determinants of Conspicuous Consumption”

  1. That’s right — I’ve never seen it. The only shopping I do much of is food shopping in an upscale neighborhood. Persons, black or white, wearing not-too-good clothes are never seen. I’m curious where exactly he is talking about.

Comments are closed.