Bling Culture: Why Those With Less Money Spend More……

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Bling Bling! Conspicuous Consumption is more prevalent amongst those with less money

Bling Culture has become a part of the American fabric thanks to the commercialization of crass hip hop that has occurred over this past decade. Label whores, big rims, oversized and too-too bright jewelry and accessories……but why?

Virginia Postrel gives us the lowdown in A New Theory of the Leisure Class:

Conspicuous consumption, this research suggests, is not an unambiguous signal of personal affluence. It’s a sign of belonging to a relatively poor group. Visible luxury thus serves less to establish the owner’s positive status as affluent than to fend off the negative perception that the owner is poor. The richer a society or peer group, the less important visible spending becomes.

On race, the folk wisdom turns out to be true. An African American family with the same income, family size, and other demographics as a white family will spend about 25 percent more of its income on jewelry, cars, personal care, and apparel. For the average black family, making about $40,000 a year, that amounts to $1,900 more a year than for a comparable white family. To make up the difference, African Americans spend much less on education, health care, entertainment, and home furnishings.

Read more at the link.


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