Re: re. yachts and cats

Tue, 3 Feb 1998 14:12:58 -0500

Re Allin's comments on Feb 3:

1) Lear Jets, I agree, would probably be mostly consumed by capitalists.
On the other hand, I wonder if that is true? I bet a significant
percentage of private airplanes in the U.S. are owned by highly-paid
workers (e.g. baseball players) and small business owners (e.g.
doctors and vets).

2) I very much doubt your assertion that only capitalists purchase
items from "The Sharper Image" catalog. Indeed, I would suggest
that *most* working-class families (in the US at least) have at
least one object that is (or was) thought to be a "luxury good."
Perhaps it is the very designation of a commodity as a "luxury
good" which increases the desire for obtaining it by working-
class families. After all, don't workers also engage in
"conspicuous consumption"?

3) Concerning the tail of the malnourished cat: you say it was a
false economy to underfeed the cat given the high cost of medical
care for animals. Indeed it was! But, the person in question
didn't anticipate in advance the damage to the cat's health as a
result of its sub-optimal diet. We don't, however, have to limit
this to cats. What about people? How many people don't eat
properly or take care of their health given the high cost of food,
etc. even though the long-term health costs may be greater than
original outlay on food would have been? The high cost of many
commodities may cause many working-class families to limit their
time horizons and not consider what the long-term consequences
will be.

btw, the "power of abstraction" is, I believe, still alive and well.

In solidarity, Jerry