Vanity Capital: The global bull market in narcissism. A price tag on the amount we spend globally on products and services that enhance our appearance or prestige.
Last month, Bank of America Merrill Lynch released the compellingly titled report, “Vanity Capital: The global bull market in narcissism,” which put a price tag on the amount we spend globally on products and services that enhance our appearance or prestige. That price tag is huge: $4.5 trillion, according to the report—larger than the fourth largest economy in the world, Germany, with its GDP of $3.7 trillion—and still growing.
The immediate question the report raises is whether it’s even possible to measure such a thing. The premise—to quantify the dollar value of all purchases worldwide motivated in some way by vanity—is a little nutty at its foundation. The authors define “vanity capital” in terms that sound like Gordon Gekko and Abraham Maslow got together to deliver a self-help seminar: It’s “the pursuit of, and the accumulation of, attributes and accessories to augment self-confidence by enhancing one’s appearance and prestige. It is self-actualization through self-improvement and self-focus.”
On top of…
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