In what might be a record of tone deathness and assholish behavior the Wall Street Journal has come out to address a disturbing tend in America today, consumption equality. In brief, it doesn't means as much to be rich today because ordinary people can watch events on flat screen TV's, own cell phones, drive a prius, fly to Europe for a vacation, and experience many of the things that were once reserved for rich people. Thus, being rich isn't as nice as it should be because the peasants are able to watch the game on a flat screen which makes your private box at the field not as enjoyable as it once was if they were stuck listening to the radio!
Choice quotes after the squiggle!
Yes, some people have more than others. Yet as far as millionaires and billionaires are concerned, they're experiencing a horrifying revolution: consumption equality. For the most part, the wealthy bust their tail, work 60-80 hour weeks building some game-changing product for the mass market, but at the end of the day they can't enjoy much that the middle class doesn't also enjoy. Where's the fairness? What does Google founder Larry Page have that you don't have?
Well for the most part most working class people also work 60-80 hours a week manufacturing or selling those game changing products. I don't know where this mantra came from that only the rich burn both ends of the candle, but it's bullshit. I work in the dreaded IT industry so working nights and weekends is pretty normal for me. I've pulled plenty of 80 hour weeks. As for what Larry Page has that I don't have, other than his stacked bank account you can do a tour of my tiny apartment in the Washington DC area and then do a tour of his place, take an inventory!
Luxury suite at the Super Bowl? Why bother? You can recline at home in your massaging lounger and flip on the ultra-thin, high-def, 55-inch LCD TV you got for $700—and not only have a better view from two dozen cameras plus Skycam and fun commercials, but you can hit the pause button to take a nature break.
Well for starters the rich can buy that TV in cash and the working class buys that on credit. So the person with less money is paying more for the same product which is hilarious in the same sort of morbid way as jokes about rape and murdering babies. For another a rich person can buy a lot more TV or a lot higher quality TV. You can get a shitty LCD TV for 700 bucks, or you can get a really good one for a few thousand. While I'll pass on American football (I like soccer, boxing, and MMA) being at a live event in a box office full of top food is much nicer than sitting on my couch.
In 1991, a megabyte of memory was $50, amazing at the time. Given its memory, today's 32-gigabyte smartphone would have cost $1 million back then, certainly an exclusive item for the wealthy. Heck, even 10 years ago, 32 gig cost 10 grand. But no one could build it—volume was needed to drive down both cost and size and attract a few geeks to write some decent apps.
As an IT person this makes me laugh. That was a lot of memory back then. If you want to compare costs lets do it, now memory is in petabytes and you can blow millions on memory today. Also he's mixing up storage memory vs random access memory here.
So it wasn't until there was a market for millions of smartphones that there was a market at all. I just bought a terabyte drive for $62 to rip all my Blu-Ray movies, and with Dolby 5.1 sound we all have private screening rooms too.
Blu-ray is still a luxury good that most people do not have. Furthermore if you're rich you can buy a sound system that costs well over 50 grand with a private theater in your house and a video system that costs over 30 grand. Which is far different than ye old 700 buck flat screen and crappy 300 buck home theater in a box.
True enough, if you have $2.4 million or so in cash you can drive a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. But it's just fashion. Even a $16,500 Ford Focus can hit 80 on the highway or get stuck in the same traffic as the rich person's ride. Plus, it comes with what used to be expensive luxuries like side air bags, antilock brakes, GPS guidance and voice-activated SYNC.
Ah yes, things to make sure the peasants don't splatter their brains all over the place are luxury goods, good to know!
Yes, the wealthy can strut around in more foo foo Jimmy Choos and Harry Winston pendants, but so what? That's all they've got left. Being envious of someone's nice outfit is no way to go through life. Last I checked, envy is noted above gluttony on the list of deadly sins.
So is greed jackass.
Medical care? Thanks to the market, you can afford a hip replacement and extracapsular cataract extraction and a defibrillator—the costs have all come down with volume.
And go broke in medical bills thanks to the free market!
To me, being rich means covering the basic necessities, and then having a challenging career, fun and fulfilling leisure time, and the love of family and friends. Compared to 20 years ago, or even five years ago, chances are that you're richer. Try to enjoy it.
Harhar, most people don't even have that.