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Is contemporary luxury morally acceptable? A question for the super-rich

Is contemporary luxury morally acceptable? A question for the super-rich
Is contemporary luxury morally acceptable? A question for the super-rich
This article investigates the moral acceptability of contemporary luxury. The meaning of luxury and its manifestations in today’s economically developed countries are explored. The nature of morality is considered and the evolving moral standing of luxury from the classical period through to modern times is reviewed. Based on an elaboration of the significant positive and negative consequences of the production and consumption of luxuries, the moral standing of contemporary luxury and the questions it raises for the super-rich are discussed. I argue that the moral standing of contemporary luxury is dependent on the social and economic context within which it is situated. This is because the meaning of both luxury and morality vary according to social context. Additionally, I argue that where luxury divides and stimulates degenerate, unethical, and criminal activities, it is morally indefensible; but where luxury unites community and advances human endeavor, it can be defended on moral grounds. However, in the contemporary period, growing economic inequality is increasingly overshadowing any positive moral impact of luxury.
Luxury, Inequality, Morality, Super-rich.
1743-2197
48-63
Roberts, Joanne
c49f0cf6-8c79-4826-b7f2-8563d7aa99cf
Roberts, Joanne
c49f0cf6-8c79-4826-b7f2-8563d7aa99cf

Roberts, Joanne (2019) Is contemporary luxury morally acceptable? A question for the super-rich. Cultural Politics, 15 (1), 48-63. (doi:10.1215/17432197-7289486).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article investigates the moral acceptability of contemporary luxury. The meaning of luxury and its manifestations in today’s economically developed countries are explored. The nature of morality is considered and the evolving moral standing of luxury from the classical period through to modern times is reviewed. Based on an elaboration of the significant positive and negative consequences of the production and consumption of luxuries, the moral standing of contemporary luxury and the questions it raises for the super-rich are discussed. I argue that the moral standing of contemporary luxury is dependent on the social and economic context within which it is situated. This is because the meaning of both luxury and morality vary according to social context. Additionally, I argue that where luxury divides and stimulates degenerate, unethical, and criminal activities, it is morally indefensible; but where luxury unites community and advances human endeavor, it can be defended on moral grounds. However, in the contemporary period, growing economic inequality is increasingly overshadowing any positive moral impact of luxury.

Text
Roberts in press 2018 - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 8 November 2019.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 9 August 2018
Published date: 12 April 2019
Keywords: Luxury, Inequality, Morality, Super-rich.

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 423055
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/423055
ISSN: 1743-2197
PURE UUID: 8fb79bc2-ea84-4eab-a3ab-7406352431e8
ORCID for Joanne Roberts: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5337-1698

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Aug 2018 16:30
Last modified: 16 Apr 2019 00:31

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