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The Price of Prestige – Conspicuous Consumption in International Relations - Chicago Scholarship Online
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The Price of Prestige: Conspicuous Consumption in International Relations

Lilach Gilady


If wars are costly and risky to both sides, why do they occur? Just as people buy expensive things precisely because they are more expensive, because they offer the possibility of improved social status or prestige, so too do countries, this book argues. It shows how many seemingly wasteful government expenditures that appear to contradict the laws of demand actually follow the pattern for what are known as Veblen goods, or positional goods for which demand increases alongside price, even when cheaper substitutes are readily available. From flashy space programs to costly weapons systems a cou ... More

Keywords: wars, government expenditures, demand, Veblen goods, positional goods, space programs, weapons, foreign aid, excess, power

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780226433202
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226433349.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Lilach Gilady, author
University of Toronto