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Elizabeth Currid-Halkett has a great book called "The Sum of Small Things" that digs into the subtle evolution of consumption as differentiators of class. Essentially, as luxury goods came down market the elite began self-identifying through "the right" things (a New Yorker tote > Expensive Handbag, Marathon/Yoga > Leisure-focused travel). These things are not differentiated by their costs, but by being privy to the appropriate consumption. To some degree, it is understandable that these changes may have been driven by a form of guilt, and the elite use this form of consumption to reinvent more grounded, authentic versions of themselves.

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