Summary Of Rachel Sherman's A Very Expensive Ordinary Life: Conflicted Consumption

776 Words4 Pages

In Rachel Sherman’s “A Very Expensive Ordinary Life: Conflicted Consumption,” the argument centres around the “legitimization” of wealth by the New York’s upper class in order to be seen as not only rich, but morally worthy. The possession of great wealth alongside their less fortunate peers could be uncomfortable also for those that hold the city’s riches. Hence, New York’s affluent has “legitimized” their wealth and consumption, or on a more macro level, the inequality between the social classes in the city in order to feel more comfortable in their spending, and to manage the impression of the wealthy in the eyes of the greater public in the much morally contested behaviour of lavish spending in an unequal society. This is supported throughout the reading by the justification of excessive spending and consumption by the claim that the rich live an “ordinary” life. The need that they feel towards justifying their spending comes to show that their amount of spending is excessive in the eyes of the ordinary person, in which they also acknowledge themselves as well. Nevertheless, the interviewees frown upon being labelled as someone that values luxury over reasonable spending. Hence, they expressed their emphasis on the importance of needs over wants, and that practicality should triumph over extravagance. They see “limited” consumption as a form of self discipline, where excessive spending was only justifiable when it is spent on the family and invested in the children. If

Open Document