A student was giving an oral presentation on Louie Vuitton bags. This must be the third or fourth time a student has given such a presentation. I don’t know what the fascination is…with these things. I guess they cost a heap. This student included in her presentation a Utube video on how to make sure the bag you are buying is authentic Louis Vuitton.
I don’t know if I have ever seen one of those bags. I asked my students if they had ever seen one. O yea! They had. Almost every woman in the room, and maybe one or two guys knew how to spot them. Not that are that hard to spot. They are remarkably ugly and covered with the Louis Vuitton logo. I guess I just haven’t been looking.
In The Theory of the Leisure Class, Veblen wrote:
It is especially the rule of the conspicuous waste of goods that finds expression in dress, although the other, related principles of pecuniary repute are also exemplified in the same contrivances. Other methods of putting one’s pecuniary standing in evidence serve their end effectually, and other methods are in vogue always and everywhere; but expenditure on dress has this advantage over most other methods, that our apparel is always in evidence and affords an indication of our pecuniary standing to all observers at the first glance.
Things haven’t changed much, if any, since Veblen wrote his book in 1899. The only reason to buy one of those bags is to assert one’s pecuniary power. If you have one of those bags, you must have money, and money is power in the US of A.
I began to drift a little during the presentation and remembered a time clear back in high school when a group of us were driving back from a basketball game and Louie, Louie came on the radio. That must have been 1963 or 4.