12/31/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Recession and Conspicuous Consumption?

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?