Conspicuous consumption is essentially a result of late modernity’s effect on how we create identity. Consumerism is now a pervasive part of our culture and identities are created by consuming products (Atkinson, 2008, p. 6). Late modernity also created a huge disparity between rich and poor and as created a class that has a large amount of surplus in which they can you to change their identity (Ferrell, Hayward, & Young, 2008, p. 57; Trigg, 2001, p. 100; Atkinson, 2008, p.6). These products contain meaning that people use as a defining characteristics of their identity (Ferrell, Hayward, & Young, 2008, p. 59). At its very core conspicuous consumption is “consumption predicated not on the satisfaction of physical need but the attainment of status.” (Ferrell, Hayward, & Young, 2008, p. 116). Another component of conspicuous consumption is that wastefulness is used as a display of wealth (Trigg, 2001, p. 101). This is done by always staying current with new models of products, spending too much on a product, buying brand names simply because of the brand and buying products or services you don’t need. Being able to blow money on things that you don’t need shows others that you are well-off and financially successful (Trigg, 2001, p. 101).
Conspicuous consumption is a necessity component of a gated community. Almost every aspect of a gated community suggests wasteful spending in the name of displaying wealth. For example the entire community is surrounded by a huge wall and the front gate is usually personalized to the community. Some communities are actually built on islands with only bridge access. These are huge costs but are the most obvious symbol of importance and wealth. We also have to look at the extensive security programs these communities create. They have key card systems, 24/7 guard services, road lights, cameras and security systems. All of these things cost the resident extra money usually in the form of a monthly community fee. Too many, this would seem excessive and almost a paranoid amount of security but the wastefulness involved actually makes residents look very important and obviously wealthy. Some gated communities even have their own schools, hospitals and police services. They could use the services available to the general public but instead they decide to spend their own money on private facilities in order to increase their status.
This is a picture of Brickell Key a gated community in Florida. It is surrounded by water with access by bridge