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Luxury Values – Veblen Goods (and Bads) and the Leisure Class – A Dead Economists Salon Series

June 3, 2021 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm CEST

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The Dead Economists Society Salon series continues as Bronwyn Williams and Peter Isztin investigate Veblen goods: products that become more desirable as they become more expensive.

“With the exception of the instinct of self-preservation, the propensity for emulation is probably the strongest and most alert and persistent of the economic motives proper.” ~ Thorstein Veble

In this Dead Economists Society Salon, we will be talking about luxury values: the French Revolution, “premium mediocre”, conspicuous consumption, and other Middle Class Problems – or how envy makes the world go around.

To do so, we will dive into Thorstein Veblen’s theory of the leisure class, Rob K Henderson’s more recent theory of luxury beliefs to hold up a mirror to what drives the human behaviour that drives our (increasingly vacuous and virtualised) real world economies.

  • Can our economies survive an end to conspicuous consumption? (And can our society survive the effects of continued conspicuous consumption in the face of growing inequality and environmental strain)?
  • Are “luxury values” a real thing?
  • Humans vs Econs : Should social sciences focus more on real world observation of real human beings doing really human (if irrational) things and less on models and maths?

These are the questions we are asking you to help us (@bronwynwilliams and @PeterIsztin) answer at the Luxury Values Dead Economists Society Salon. (Non-economists welcome, after all, we all live in a world shaped by the ideas of Dead Economists – and we should all have a say in the future.)


Further reading:

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June 3, 2021
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm CEST
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