cult is our monthly snapshot of emerging cultural trends likely to affect your world. Every issue focuses on one single cultural event across art, design, technology and lifestyle, to give you a pulse of the changing world as it happens.
Today’s inconspicuous consumption is a far more pernicious form of status spending than the conspicuous consumption of Veblen’s time. Inconspicuous consumption – whether breastfeeding or education – is a means to a better quality of life and improved social mobility for one’s own children, whereas conspicuous consumption is merely an end in itself – simply ostentation.
For today’s aspirational class, inconspicuous consumption choices secure and preserve social status, even if they do not necessarily display it.
It is one of the great paradoxes that technology and its great many labour-saving innovations - designed to free us up and give us back our leisure time - is now making us more frantic and time-poor than ever.
But this fast-paced digital consumption is creating a counter-culture that businesses should take note of as their customers begin to seek a slow-down in their relationship with the technologies they love.
Hip-hop’s revolutionary roots are often glossed over and dismissed by those quick to decry theart-form as violent, misogynistic, and obsessed by celebrity culture and ostentatious displays of wealth.
But this ignores the culture's deep, rich history in protest and politics, born as it was from the sound systems of Kingston, Jamaica, and the social upheaval and struggles in the South Bronx in the 60's and 70's, and the racial segregation that existed in the immediately preceding decades.
And it’s not just hip-hop that’s bringing the noise to those in power, the whole art scene suddenly has a role. As do brands, who are increasingly beginning to play a powerful role.