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Where's the Bling?


Increasingly it seems it is becoming "cool" to disassociate from luxury and symbols of wealth.


A $15 basketball shoe endorsed by Knicks' player Stephon Marbury hit stores in mid-August. "Beginning Saturday, September 9th, with two stops at Steve & Barry's locations in Cincinnati, Ohio, Marbury will tour the country through Thursday, September 28th. In most cities, Marbury will conduct in-store autograph signings, work out at local gyms with high school basketball teams, and meet with participants of youth programs to teach them about taking responsibility for their actions and to ask for their input to further develop new Starbury Collection sneakers and clothes," the URB1 website reported.

Here is the kicker: "The tour is part of Marbury's efforts to reinforce the mission of the Starbury Movement, which is to eliminate the incredible pressure kids and parents feel to spend top dollar on the latest sneakers, clothes and other merchandise that they often cannot afford.

Thanks to Minyan Mike D for pointing this out late Friday. We've experienced such a long secular trend in risk-seeking behavior and the (over)-valuing of all things financial that it is difficult to imagine the extent to which a structural shift might reverse that. What remains undervalued are intangible assets; relationships, time, quietude, reflection - all those things that are difficult to define and whose value deflated in the mania for goods and financial assets. Socionomically, the way we must deal with a decrease in time preferences and an increase in personal savings is by psychologically devaluing the former symbols of the bull market - luxury goods, ostentatious shows of wealth.

The Starbury One is yet another example of the transition we are living through. A few years ago it would have been unthinkable for a professional athlete to endorse an "inexpensive" product like a $15 shoe since the bull market demanded the association of athletic ability, wealth and persona with high-price tag goods. Increasingly it seems it is becoming "cool" to disassociate from luxury and symbols of wealth.

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