Dynamist Blog

Sign of a Poor Peer Group


Assuming all the bling isn't meant as an ironic statement, this Escalade I recently saw parked in Westwood is probably owned by someone afraid of being mistaken for his (or her) poorer peers. My latest Atlantic column explains why conspicuous consumption is a sign of social insecurity.

But what explains why the one day I don't tote my camera with me I find the perfect illustration? A parking garage is no place for cell phone photography. You can't even see all the crystals on the Escalade's upper brake light strip.

ADDENDUM: On second thought, this isn't really a good illustration, since crystals on your car (as opposed to the diamonds they're imitating) don't really show much about wealth. They're more about taste--pleasure, rather than meaning.

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