Monday, July 04, 2011

Conspicuous Consumption and Roman Tomb Architecture

To what extent can the modern economic theory of conspicuous consumption be applied to the ancient world? Here Roman tomb architecture serves as an example.

What is it that makes those items we define as luxurious so desirable? Thorstein Veblen's theory of “conspicuous consumption”, argued in his 1899 book The Theory of the Leisure Class, originally concerned with the spending habits of the nouveaux riches, has since developed into the wider idea that people wish to devote wealth to luxury simply as a display of that wealth, and not for any inherent usefulness of luxury goods.

By Kevin Stoba

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