Beau Monde

Vive les Nouveaux Pauvres!

November 18, 2011

If you prefer materialism over happiness, you can stress yourself into oblivion by doing some retail therapy. Perhaps this is why, during these “austere” times, the luxury market is doing better than ever.

Not everyone with this kind of cash spends it all. Not everyone who can afford a boat built by Philippe Starck has one, though most do. Possessing so much wealth requires a tremendous amount of management. And management means people. People means secretaries, maids, cooks, chauffeurs, accountants, mechanics, and masseurs. Rich people need people, and these are only the ones they pay for. Think of all the friends very rich people must have. Think of all the acquaintances, groupies, leeches, and hangers-on.

And then there are the parties. Rich people have to give parties. Their grand spaces must be filled. Why bother being rich if you don’t spend it on others? Big empty houses are sad. Without playmates, they are superfluous. If you live in grand style, you must entertain in grand style.

This is giving me a stomachache. It all sounds exhausting, like a labor camp. So if you’re worried about your finances but are not in danger of starving, try not to worry. You’re missing a roller-coaster ride you can live without—one you would probably be happier without. Strike out and be different! Look forward to being broke. You might like it. You might be a nicer person—even a better, less anxious person. Downsize.

Vive les nouveaux pauvres!


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