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.

Quartz

Last month, Bank of America Merrill Lynch released the compellingly¬†titled report, ‚ÄúVanity Capital: The global bull market in narcissism,‚ÄĚ 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‚ÄĒlarger than the fourth largest economy in the world, Germany, with its GDP of $3.7¬†trillion‚ÄĒand still growing.

The immediate question the report raises is whether it‚Äôs even possible to measure such a thing. The premise‚ÄĒto quantify the dollar value of¬†all purchases worldwide motivated in some way by vanity‚ÄĒis a little nutty at its foundation. The authors¬†define ‚Äúvanity capital‚ÄĚ in terms that sound like Gordon Gekko¬†and Abraham Maslow¬†got together to deliver a self-help seminar: It‚Äôs¬†‚Äúthe pursuit of, and the accumulation of, attributes and accessories to augment self-confidence by enhancing one‚Äôs appearance and prestige. It is self-actualization through self-improvement and self-focus.‚ÄĚ

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