By display I mean, fashions, events, ceremonies, experiences, lifestyles, things we take to be motivated by signaling and enjoying an image of status and prosperity.

Clearly, during a period of recession or unpredictability you'd expect these goods would be the first to get cut. That's not always the case though, from genteel poverty to credit card debt we have a whole lexicon of ideas for why and how people do the opposite - prioritize display over financial stability and even more concrete goods, like food or heating. Less pejoratively, people in a recession will still break the bank for a wedding or a funeral.

Assuming that's more than an anomaly or a cliche, what motivates that? Do economists have a theory of when and why economic instability does or does not reduce consumption for display? Are there even cases in which instability might motivate it?

Lacking the right terms and search words I'm unable to research for myself, though I gave it a shot. Thanks.


1 Answer 1


This is an opinionated share but may be useful.

In this circumstance I would argue that Display is a factor of instability. I look at the overall picture of display like a portfolio, diversification is key for stability. In my dicresionary budget I decide (based on current economy) the preference to comsume for display, some will be for future headwinds(rain coat) and some for current predicaments (practical garments). Applying this to luxury goods like Gucci or Coach, should look like, When economy is weak wear garments that reenforce economic prowest and perseverance. When economy is strong dress conservatively (meaning not so expensive clothes). This is essentially what navigating brand marketing is like. It should be strategic in approach as it has the power to open and close doors. Which exist regardless of the economic situation of a region. Moving on this really goes for events and ceremonies alike. However, I think the lifestyle aspect is more like the economy in the sense that everything mentioned above is a lifestyle in practice, it's a seperate economy in itself constantly finding balance; taxing and giving breaks where it's appropriate. Appropriate, like economic policy, is subjective. I hope that helped. And feel free to ask for clarity if necessary!


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