Conspicuous Consumption is a marketing term used to describe the buyer habit of spending to acquire luxury goods and services as a means of publicly displaying economic power, status or wealth. Seemingly harmless, this preverbal chasing after the rainbow is a trap the human race likes to fall into time and time again, because of course there will always be more, always be bigger, and always be better ways to flaunt it.

UCLA environmental economist Magali A. Delmas wrote a book called The Green Bundle: Pairing the Market with the Planet in hopes of awakening capitalist society to a new, restorative psychological model for spending she has dubbed ‘Conspicuous Conservation.’

Conspicuous conservation, like conspicuous consumption, has an agenda. But this time the motivating force behind the buying is to actually make it ‘not buying.’ Showing your values, views, and economic stance by way of refusal.

Magali further explains the simple premise in a one minute interview you can watch HERE. 


It’s really come to our attention as a country over the past month that each day of our life is a political march of some kind. The words we choose, actions we carry out, ways we spend, where we buy. All of these ordinary daily happenings hold potential for protest. When we acknowledge our inherent persuadability, we can then begin to investigate what we are really buying…. Is it the item, or is it some desired aspect of self?



As we adjust to the confrontational aspects of our current climate we must speak up and also let our lives humbly speak as we work together for, not against, a culture of peace.


This weeks consideration –

What is our life marching for – conspicuous consumption, or conspicuous conservation?


And if this wasn’t enough motivation to slow down, here’s a totally hectic 1980’s advertisement jingle to demonstrate the absurdity of mindless consumption panic….




Top and bottom images: The Mask Series collaboration by photographers Inge Morath & Saul Steinberg