Extravagance as a Virtue

Previous published in 2008.

Some are so quick to judge badly the extravagance of an event or thing. Why?  My opinion: They envy the thing, and the people who can afford it, so they assume that holier than though posture I so hate. Give it to the poor they say. Why? Why give them a fish for a day when you can teach them to fish and feed themselves. (It’s an old adage, but true.)

It happened again on CBS Sunday Morning with Tracy Smith’s condemnation of Chanel’s celebration of Purse 2.55 with a museum currently in NYC.  I like to consider the true benefit to people in all walks of life of such a grand gesture. How many people made honest wages in this ‘extravagant’ spending? Consider how many jobs were created.

  • The Architects and her staff
  • Providers of the raw materials for fabrication of the structure
  • Engineers who designed and orchestrated the manufacture
  • Machinists who designed and ran the machines
  • Workers who assembled the structure
  • Artists who created the artwork for display within the structure
  • Suppliers of art supplies for the artists
  • Truck drivers that transported the structure and art
  • Cabbies transporting visitors to the exhibit
  • Maids and janitors that clean the premises night after night
  • The receptions, caterers, foods, farmers, servers, etc., etc., etc. and
  • And on, and on…

Consider further that every person who earns, spends, so the ripples go beyond the pool of jobs directly involved in Chanel’s Museum.

If Chanel has the money to spend extravagantly, by all means, spend it and bless you for not hording it. Give people the opportunity to earn their way and most will take it quickly and gratefully rather than put their hand out for a dole.

I often think the nay-sayers who denigrate extravagance are just jealous that they have neither the means nor the inclination for such generosity. Like the redistributionist position of presidential hopeful, BHO, they want to take from the haves of the world and give it to the have-nots, as if being wealthy is a crime and poor a virtue.

I am unemployed at the moment, but I don’t now nor will I ever want a redistribution of wealth. I want the right to create my own wealth.

© Perle Champion

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