Luxury Fever: Money and Happiness in an Era of Excess

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Princeton University Press, 1999 - Business & Economics - 326 pages
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A new luxury fever has America in its grip--the past two decades have witnessed a spectacular and uninterrupted rise in luxury consumption. Ordinary, functional goods are no longer acceptable. Our cars have gotten larger, heavier, and far more expensive. As the super rich set the pace, everyone else spends furiously in a competitive echo of wastefulness. The costs are enormous: we spend more time at work, leaving less time for family and friends, less time for exercise. Most of us have been forced to save less and spend and borrow much more. Frank offers the first comprehensive and accessible summary of scientific evidence that our spending choices are not making us as happy and as healthy as they could. The good news is that we can do something about it. Luxury Fever boldly offers a way to curb the excess and restore the true value of money.
 

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Contents

Money Well Spent?
1
The Luxury Spending Boom
14
Why Now?
33
The Price of Luxury
45
Does Money Buy Happiness?
64
Gains That Endure
75
Our Forgotten Future
94
Excellent Relatively Speaking
107
SelfHelp?
173
Other Failed Remedies
194
Luxury Without Apology
207
Equity Versus Efficiency The Great TradeOff?
227
We Cant Afford It?
251
Cash on the Table
266
Endnotes
281
References
295

Why Context and Position Are So Important
122
Smart for One Dumb for All
146
Understanding Conspicuous Consumption
159

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About the author (1999)

Robert H. Frank is an economics professor at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management, a regular "Economic View" columnist for the "New York Times," and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos. His books, which have been translated into twenty-two languages, include "The Winner-Take-All Society" (with Philip Cook), "The Economic Naturalist, Luxury Fever, What Price the Moral High Ground?," and "Principles of Economics" (with Ben Bernanke).

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