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The never-ending ratchet of conspicuous consumption

It used to be that a well-tended lawn of 50 by 100 feet was wasteful indeed. Today, it’s in the by-laws of the local housing association. You could impress the neighbors with a new Cadillac, now you not only need a Tesla, but you need a new Tesla. And you could show off by flying first class, but then you needed to charter a plane, then charter a jet, then charter a bigger jet, then buy a fractional share, then own the whole thing, then get a bigger one and on and on.

Conspicuous consumption is not absolute, it’s relative.

It’s sort of a selfish potlatch, in which each person seeks to demonstrate status, at whatever the personal or societal cost, by out-consuming the others.

Social networks have simplify amplified this desire, at the same time they simplified the execution. Now you can waste time and dignity instead of money. Who can you tear down? How much time can you waste? What’s it worth to you to have more followers than the others?

It’s a lousy game, because if you lose, you lose, and if you win, you also lose.

The only way to do well is to refuse to play.

Earning trust outperforms earning envy.

Seth Godin

Seth Godin

Hi. I’m Seth Godin. I’m a teacher, and I do projects.

For more than thirty years, I’ve been trying to turn on lights, inspire people and teach them how to level up. This blog has been appearing daily for more than a decade. One day, if we meet, I hope you’ll share with me your favorite posts. Even better, I’d like to hear about how a book or course helped you interact with the world differently and make a difference.
Seth Godin

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