Very interesting book The Sum of Small Thing A theory of the Aspirational Class.
Written by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett
and written taking inspiration by "The theory of the Leisure Class" published more than two centuries ago by Thorstein Veblen, this teacher will compare at first the situation found by Veblen analyzing the present condition of the new American élite called Aspirational Class.
new élite brings in itself substance and essence because it's dominated
by people of culture with interesting jobs. It's not said that they are
rich by birth, maybe they become rich thanks to their work. Maybe
they're not rich in the common sense of the word. Surely these people
bring into themselves a revolutionary essence-
The Aspirational Class is not anymore in fact attracted by the so-called "visible social status symbols."
the past social status symbols of rich people recognized by certain
objects that the working class and middle class could just blandly
At the moment the real
objects of luxury and distinction between the very rich American people
(1% of the entire population) and the rest of people are yachts and
In the past rich people tended to buying rolex, very expensive shoes, clothes, big cars, Louis Vuitton's bags.
the past some of these brands dedicated to this exclusive market
opened, launched a special market also for common people. Objects,
The story of Burberry very interesting like also the story of bags' imitation.
of course is still important for this niche of people, but there is a
new movement dedicated to picking up good clothes made in USA with good
The famous brands used in the past for the exclusivity are not anymore a top priority and not searched at all.
The trendy bag at the moment is a tote bag, better if it "speaks" about you and your tendencies in terms of policy, environment.
The essence of a clothe? A shirt, a dress of good quality made respecting the environment the new direction given by the élite.
Money spent for unnecessary and expensive objects directed to most important life's sectors.
We call conspicuous consumption the objects we buy and that we can classify as unnecessary.
This process is not new at all.
Rich Romans of course lived with a lot of conspicuous consumption at their times.
Egyptians as well, also in their graves!
The only difference is that now there is a largest percentage of people, a sort of standardization of luxury and exclusive items ready for them and their wallets .
The real big difference between rich people and common ones can't be anymore the possession of an iPhone or a SUV.
Also: let's add that the middle class spend more money than not the rich class for these status symbols.
The Aspirational Class, is in this sense different and they also go for the so-called inconspicuous Consumption.
They're people of quality as I would want to classify them.
The best is not necessary what they can buy, but what they can give them satisfaction in term of quality in every sense.
They won't tend anymore to spend a patrimony in a rolex
or in very expensive bags, but these people in love for treasuring the
most important aspect of life starting from food, choosing the best one
directly from farms, eating well, organic food, avoiding where possible
industrialized food, drinking well, doing pilates.
They will preserve the tradition of
sending letters and postcards, living in an old-fashioned way and
giving importance to little things and treasuring their time.
Women will choose to breast-feeding their children a habit pretty uncommon in the USA for a sort of pudor, but defeated.
They will have nannies for their children, they will avoid structures where to put them while they work.
This, for giving to their children a best quality of life.
mom are more than 30s of course because before the important step of a
child they studied and they realized their life professionally.
is the most important part of their life with good schools and later
great colleges for their children, so that their quality of work will be
great, their friends pretty good as they are, and once they will retire
they will experience a lot of gratifications.
These people read a lot: surely The New York Times (if you also mention some reporters or very famous editorialists you will see that they will be all happy and cheerful to hearing from you).
The NYT costs says the author 2 dollar and 50 cents everyday and 5 dollars on Sunday morning.
If you read the NYT you pay a lot for your culture add Currid-Halkett.
The New Yorker is another magazine that the Aspirational Class loves to read so badly.
Surely it's not just a story of price because these realities read
only by people of a certain culture.
Cities and life-styles different from the one lived in a little town.
The author told the example of her life while she was studying in NYC.
She paid the rent of her apartment just for sleeping there.
For the rest, her life was all outside.
one would invite a friend in their flats in NYC, but everyone surely
would enjoy to seeing friends and colleagues in clubs, restaurants,
NYC is a big home for its citizens and everyone
love to go out from their flats, apartments, houses for living the city
I loved to read this book so badly!
It is written wonderfully well, with a captivating style, interest grows up every chapter you read and what I can hope is that the elitarian
movement of the Aspirational Class will better this world influencing
the masses for an ethical behavior, best and conscious choices about
what to eat, what to drink, what it is best for ourselves.
Let's hope that this revolution will be intense and felt like the rich people were synonymous of Louis Vuitton bags, rolex and all the rest of compendium of objects so typical of the élite but so superfluous.
we will build more culture, of there will be more books in our houses,
more newsmagazines and magazines, more respect for ourselves passing
thought a conscious attitude regarding
the various aspects of life, including what we eat, what we drink, what
we wear, who we are in this society, and what kind of people we want to be for ourselves and our society, this one will be the best revolution we can wait!
I thank Princeton University Press for the physical copy of this book.
Anna Maria Polidori