Answer to Question #53076 in Other Economics for candy
Explain Thorstein Veblen’s theory of consumption. Is economic behavior, and consumption in
particular, driven by utilitarian impulses or socio-cultural factors? What is the point of
conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure? What is emulative consumption and
emulative leisure? What role do envy and invidious distinctions play in this process? Does this
lead to a state of happiness or misery? What does this imply for the presumed efficiency (or lack
of waste) of capitalist society?
Conspicuous consumption is the spending of money on and the acquiring of luxury goods and services to publicly display economic power—either the buyer's income or the buyer's accumulated wealth. Sociologically, to the conspicuous consumer, such a public display of discretionary economic power is a means either of attaining or of maintaining a given social status. Consumption is regarded to foster economic benefits, by some accounts. As proposed by Thorstein Veblen, conspicuous consumption (spending money to buy goods and services for their own sakes) explains the psychological mechanics of a consumer society, and the increase in the number and the types of the goods and services that people consider necessary to and for their lives in a developed economy.