I came up with this theory after noticing a connection between poverty and materialism. Being raised in the ghetto I grew up wondering, why were we so materialistic compared to others? Even though we were poor and couldn’t afford the luxury items we craved. I saw how people would neglect to pay for the bare necessities of life, in exchange for vain luxury items. If a bill needed to be paid, one would buy a dress or shoes to wear to the club with the money instead. This is not to say that only impoverished people are materialistic, not at all. Anyone can be materialistic, it doesn’t matter how poor or rich one is. I only want to show how the poverty within the inner city brings about a materialistic mindset for those living there.
Materialism is egotism, narcissism, conceit, and selfishness, it is the result of the desire for social status. Within our current society it is obvious that women are more materialistic than men.This is because women are more selfish than man. A man works because he has to, a woman works because she wants to. A man gives, a woman receives. When a man marries he is expected to provide for his wife and children, a woman isn’t expected to do anything. Most women can find a man who will provide for them and their children. A man will never find a women who will devote her life to working and providing for him. Any man who fell in love, got married and had children would be happy to provide financial and physical security for his family. Women don’t have the burden of being the sole bread-winner in a marriage. Being a man means that you have to sacrifice your own personal pleasure for that of your family. Therefore, women are used to receiving and men are used to giving. This naturally makes men more selfless and women more selfish.
If everyone could afford luxury goods, it is unlikely that we would have gross materialism. Lets use economics for example. When an economic commodity is plentiful, its price goes down. When it is rare the price goes up. People desire diamonds not only for their beauty, but more so because they are rare and expensive. Therefore diamonds give those who own them social status. Owning diamonds is a sign of success and wealth. The appearance of diamonds can be easily replicated and sold for a cheaper price. This shows that people buy diamonds more so for status than for their beauty. If diamonds became plentiful they would lose their luxury status. They would become like any other cheap gemstone. In this case, people wouldn’t care for diamonds no more than they care for crystals. And the materialistic mindset toward the accumulation of diamonds would be non-existent. Diamonds would no longer be a status symbol, or a symbol of success and achievement. The only people who would buy diamonds, would be people who actually love them for their beauty and hardness.
People buy Jordan basketball shoes, not because they’re beautiful, but because they’re expensive and gives one higher social status. Children who wear shoes from Payless, like Shaquille O’Neal shoes, are made fun of because the shoes are cheap, And therefore a sign of low social status or failure. If Shaq’s shoes were expensive, they would be a sign of high status and success. If more people were able to buy Jordans, either because the price was lowered or because people started to make more money, than Jordan shoes would lose their status as a luxury good. They would no longer be a sign of high status. The only people who would buy Jordans would be those who buy them for beauty, or because of comfort. The materialistic mindset toward Jordans would go away.
If most people were able to buy what we consider luxury goods, it would do away with materialism, no one would be able to use a good as a sign of higher status and success. This would eliminate boasting, bragging or stuntin and flawsin as we say in the ghetto. People desire luxury goods in order to prove their success, in order to tell everyone else that they are better and superior. For the same reason a nation builds national monuments. A nation is really saying ” Look at us, we have more natural resources than you, we are harder working, we are smarter, we are superior etc..” This ego stroking gives pleasure to the boaster and inspires materialism in everyone. The desire to possess and accumulate rare luxury goods so that we can be seen as successful, superior, better etc.. is materialism.
Poverty brings about gross materialism. Poor people dedicate their lives to achieving success, and the possession of luxury goods represent success. A poverty-stricken society is a dog eat dog world, in which everyone fights to get to the top in order to prove their superiority. To go from being poor to being rich is a play on the ego. Out of all the poor people, you were the one to make it out of poverty, therefore you are better and superior to everyone else. And you buy expensive luxury goods to show everyone your success. Materialism is vain because its selfish. People buy luxury goods not because they need them or like them, but to prove that they’re superior to others. This is the reason why rap music is filled with materialism. The rappers come from impoverished communities. They boast and brag in an attempt to prove to you that they have achieved success.