What happens when you Google ‘caveman’?

Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    What happens when you Google ‘caveman’?

    Google co-founder Larry Page’s recent purchase of an 187-foot, $45 million yacht is a classic case of “conspicuous consumption.” The term, coined by  economist Thorstein Veblen, refers to  “the waste of money and/or resources by people to display a higher status than others.”

    As an investment the purchase of the yacht, dubbed “Senses,” makes little sense, as one commenter to Business Insider notes. The purchase is an intentional waste of money designed to prove something we already knew: that Page has the capacity to waste more money than most of us will have.

    Why would Page, obviously a smart fellow, feel to need to send such a message? Veblen, an iconoclastic academic economist who couldn’t get tenure due to his provocative “theory of the leisure class” (and his equally provocative penchant for seducing the wives of colleagues) argued that this impulse toward extravagance is rooted in the division of labor generated by the rise of barbarism. Per Wikipedia:

    Once conquerors took control, they relegated the more menial and labor-intensive jobs to the subjugated people, while retaining the more warlike and violent work for themselves. It did not matter that these “menial” jobs did more to support society (in Veblen’s view) than the “higher” ones. Even within tribes that were initially free of conquerors or violence, Veblen argued that certain individuals, upon watching this labor division take place in other groups, began to emulate the behavior in higher-status groups.

    Veblen would say that that the 21st century Internet genius is emulating a pre-historic caveman.

    We’ll just say that the boat is docked in St. Maarten awaiting further use/waste.


    Leave a Reply

    Celine Handbagsceline purseceline bag priceceline luggageceline taschenceline clutchceline onlinecheap ray ban sunglasses