Is Luxury Shame Hurting the Economy?

As the economy continues to slide, the wealthy and the businesses that cater to them are starting to mask their affluence, according to a recent Associated Press article. Retailing experts call it luxury shame, or stealth wealth. 

And while it's true that there are overall less rich people today than there was last summer, there are still plenty of rich people. And it is these people who now feel dirty when they flaunt their wealthy by driving flashy cars, carrying $3,000 handbags, and ordering $300 bottles of wine. "Some shoppers are asking cashiers at high-end stores to put their purchases in plain white paper bags... others want their expensive clothes and jewelry shipped home so they can walk out of the store without any bags at all." But maybe there's a downside to all this regular guy stuff. If the super rich really want to help out their fellow Americans, living a less luxurious lifestyle isn't the way to go, writes the author of the piece, John Rogers. "Money dished out on pricey dinners and clothes keeps people employed." What do you think about the stealth wealth trend? Here's Bob Guccione, Jr., who is launching a new luxury lifestyle magazine in New York, talking about luxury in a recession.

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