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Conspicuous Consumption

Note to Donald Trump: Really Smart People Never Claim They Are Smart

Paul Abrams | Posted 02.04.2016 | Politics
Paul Abrams

This is for Trump more than anyone: If you really are smart, you would think that you need not say it, that people would notice, if people noticing it were important to you. Truly smart people rarely require the attention or recognition by others of their intelligence that Trump seems to crave.

Is Extreme Inequality Condemning Us to Ecological Armageddon?

Jon Wisman | Posted 08.05.2015 | Politics
Jon Wisman

If this continuing impact were to end the planet's ability to support human life, it would be ecocide -- an ecological Armageddon. Current trends seem to give to ecocide a degree of inevitability.

Unequal and Unhappy

Aaron Pacitti | Posted 03.09.2015 | Politics
Aaron Pacitti

Over the past 35 years, Americans have become $27 trillion wealthier. That's an extra $90,000 per person, or $360,000 for a family of four. But it doesn't seem to be making us better off.

Choice Between Voters and Rioters?

Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey | Posted 12.31.2014 | Politics
Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey

While some nations have imposed voting as mandatory for all citizens, the process of disenfranchisement in the US appears to be tolerated and/or encouraged at least by some political elites who claim to represent us as a whole.

Oprah Winfrey Embodies What's Wrong With American Public Life

Sam Chaltain | Posted 12.14.2014 | Entertainment
Sam Chaltain

The things Oprah once gave us -- the sense of community, the relevant national conversations and lines of inquiry, and the iconic model of intelligent self-reflection -- have been cheapened by her attempt to align them with things.

The Not-So-Subtle Message You're Sending in That SoulCycle T-Shirt

Jessica Kane | Posted 12.09.2014 | Women
Jessica Kane

It's one thing to spend $165 for less than four hours of working out. It's another to walk around the city in a $58 flashy tank top that is essentially shouting "I have enough money to not only afford my rent, but to also spend $45 per hour to work out" to the world.

Stop! Don't Buy That! Be Happy!

Nancy Deville | Posted 04.12.2014 | Healthy Living
Nancy Deville

Conspicuous consumption is kind of a fun concept. We've all done it. Clothing. Cars. Jewelry. Homes. Does buying more things make you happier? Actuall...

Sport and Society for Arete -- The Super Bowl

Richard Crepeau | Posted 04.02.2014 | Sports
Richard Crepeau

Here we are once again at the most important weekend in American sport.

Women Use Designer Purses Used To Fend Off Jealous Would-Be Man-Stealers, Study Claims

Posted 07.29.2013 | Style

This just in: Women carry expensive purses to fend off jealous women from their boyfriends. Nope, we're not making this up. A couple of professors ...

Make More of Your Own Stuff

Stanley Hainsworth | Posted 05.05.2013 | Healthy Living
Stanley Hainsworth

We live in a culture of conspicuous consumption in the United States. You can buy anything you want. At any time. When I moved back to the states afte...

Sexual Signalling Powers the Economy

Rob Brooks | Posted 10.31.2012 | Science
Rob Brooks

It's entertaining to think that economic growth and innovation might owe just as much to showing off as it does to the earnest attempts of consumers to obtain the bare necessities of life.

Why Men Go Broke Spending On Women

The Huffington Post | Rebecca Searles | Posted 01.13.2012 | Science

The Ferraris and the diamond necklaces, the gold Rolexes and those lavish date-nights out on the town--wooing a woman can cost a pretty penny. To impr...

Rebuilding Edith Wharton's House of Mirth

Lev Raphael | Posted 08.02.2011 | Books
Lev Raphael

Certain books change your life, and Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth changed mine. The novel's brilliance blew me away in college, deepening my desi...

Yankees Outbid Yankees for Lee's Services (Satire)

Brock Cohen | Posted 05.25.2011 | Sports
Brock Cohen

In an unlikely chain of events Tuesday, the New York Yankees finally secured a contract with 32-year-old pitching ace Cliff Lee that exceeded the team's previous offer, made five minutes earlier, by twelve years and $320 million.

Why I Like Mad Men

Sam Chaltain | Posted 05.25.2011 | Entertainment
Sam Chaltain

Mad Men is a quintessentially American show about disembodied desire and emotion. Set in the first few years of the 1960s, the show is filled with characters living in a gilded world.

Is Sustainability an Impossible Dream?

Robyn Griggs Lawrence | Posted 05.25.2011 | Green
Robyn Griggs Lawrence

To live sustainably, we first need to be part of a greater, systemic transformation toward a culture that regards that as a worthy goal.

Will Consumer Spending Change Once the Recession Ends?

Jenny Darroch | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Jenny Darroch

It won't be hard to identify an increase in consumer spending but it will be more difficult to detect whether in fact consumer values have fundamentally changed. Now that will be interesting.

Arab Divisions: New Trend in Guest-List Lifestyles Splits Arab Societies

Journalism Boot Camp | Posted 05.25.2011 | World
Journalism Boot Camp

In the Qatari capital of Doha, the desert has transformed into lush, luxury communities. It is part of a trend in social segregation unlike anywhere else in the world.

Wall Street Pay Back Up! Look Out: The Bubble Man Cometh!

George Alexander | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
George Alexander

After the stock market rebounds and unemployment subsides will we go forth more prudently or will we return to the delusions of unrestricted entitlement that got us here in the beginning?

The New Frugality: Even Well-off Consumers Tone Down Consumption

New York Times | SHAILA DEWAN | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business

ATLANTA -- It is a sign of the times when Sacha Taylor, a fixture on the charity circuit in this gala-happy city, digs out a 10-year-old dress to wear...

The Critics and the Credit Cards

Christopher Brauchli | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Christopher Brauchli

Credit card companies do not limit themselves to tutoring consumers in the art of financial responsibility. They try to insure that everyone who wants a credit card has one.

JCPenney Describes Sale as "Doorbuster!"

Lisa Wade | Posted 05.25.2011 | Style
Lisa Wade

There is something truly amazing about a sign touting "Doorbuster!" sales that shows how quickly we forget, how callous we can be, and the level of incompetence at JCPenney.

The Bailout of Joe the Plumber

Rick Smith | Posted 05.25.2011 | Style
Rick Smith

On 12/1, the U.S. Government seized control of Joe the Plumber, preventing average Joe from falling into bankruptcy. He maintained that he was "just trying to live the American dream".

Stampedes, Shootings and Bargains

Dwayne Raymond | Posted 05.25.2011 | Style
Dwayne Raymond

This morning the news features stories of a stressed economy, but that takes second place to the smashing in of a Wal-Mart door by gluttonous Americans seeking deals on X-Box toys.

The Irony of Irony

Ben Fractenberg | Posted 05.25.2011 | Style
Ben Fractenberg

Can I subvert corporate capitalism with my clothing choices and sardonic detachment? Probably not. Can I register people to vote by sincerely telling them why I think it is important? Most definitely.