Conspicuous consumption and sharing

Jewellery and other luxury goods are used for ...

Jewellery and other luxury goods are used for conspicuous and/or invidious consumption (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Consumerism and especially status consumption, i.e. the consumption of “unnecessary” product, play a crucial role in the evolutionary leap from the institutions to the network environment.
Conspicuous consumption is a passage form between the competition for material resources and the competition for a social status. Conspicuous consumption means a deliverance from the day-to-day survival needs. After it, the culture of the deficiency will be destroyed, as well as the demand for the old institutional forms.
In turn, the status consumption rapidly becomes meaningless, since grow of the quantitative saturation reduces the quality of the pleasure from the obtainable amenities.
So the competition of the conspicuous consumption necessarily goes into the competition of altruism. It is not statistical (i.e. not in every case), but evolutionary (i.e. historical) process. Even if it is altruism by the rich men or celebrities that is demonstrated for fashion, it is a mandatory next step of the conspicuous consumption degeneration. A competition for “to receive” under conditions of abundance is inevitably transformed into a competition for “to share”. Just for the sake of status.
Status consumption prepares this transformation by converting the values from the vital needs scope into the social scope because the conspicuous consumption differs from the ordinary consumption by the reason that it is associated with a status and not with satisfying hunger. The animal having been satisfied, we forget about it and emancipate a human.
Status consumption passes into sharing “for the sake of status”. On the Net, those who have shared more time, and knowledge, and passion are better socialized.
One can be knocked down from this fashion only by moving down the actual values back to the deficiency level, i.e. by reducing people’s welfare and restoring them into poverty.
Inversely, the higher the standard of well-being, the more likely these unintelligible “hipsters” and “freelancers” start the protests in Moscow ignoring the institution power. And the Internet provides a technical and easiest alternative to share, to publish and to be involved. In addition, abundance matures much faster on the Internet than in the material world.
Andrey Miroshnichenko

Extracted from: Human as media. The emancipation of authorship
Available on Amazon now.

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Categories: Future of journalism, Human as media book, Media ecology

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