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Actually, the sensible response is to get in on the marketplace used by the 1%. Luxury goods are selling like hotcakes, both in the West and to the new elite in China.

  • Leica never had it so good, they're selling as many $10,000 M9 cameras as they can put together. And all the decent museum-quality antique cameras have moved from the U.S. to the Far East.

  • Oprah's $38,000 handbag incident should set everybody back on their heels. Not really because of the suspected racism, but just the fact that there is a handbag that costs that much.

  • Luxury car brands, innumerable. Not to mention antique Ferraris and the like that are going for millions.

  • Even Apple with its new bifurcated phone market, where the 1% will buy the new 5S and the rest of us will buy the plastic 5C. Or whatever their names turn out to be. Apple has already differentiated itself from the generic PC marketplace by charging 4x of what you can get in a regular PC, and you can already tell somebody's economic status by whether they have an iPhone or a Droid--again with a 4x or so price differential. Now they are going to peel off the really high end...

  • Clothes, obviously.
by asdf on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 05:28:16 PM EST
Funny thing about cellphones in Japan.  No matter what I do, my bill somehow stays the same.  Plans change, sometimes I'm paying for a phone and sometimes I'm not, sometimes I use more, sometimes I use less, but the bill for the past 8 years has ranged no more than 1000 yen up or down.  Just a couple days ago I went and got the new iPhone 5, and even with the payments wrapped into the bill, somehow with the new plans and everything, the bill is the same.
by Zwackus on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 07:42:55 PM EST
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Cartel fixes prices?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 02:14:47 AM EST
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I can't blame anyone who wants to use the marketplace for their own betterment.  That's one of the things it's there for, after all.

However, my various attempts to become a bought and paid for lapdog have ended before they began, and I just don't think it's a viable course of action for me.

by Zwackus on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 07:44:18 PM EST
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Mechanical watches is another amazing thing. Why are people willing to spend so much for a mechanical contraption when a $10 Timex works better? <-- Rhetorical question.

So the thing to do is find some existing old brand name that is undervalued, and revive it with over-priced new stuff. Best if the stuff is made in Europe, to maintain the aura. Maybe get the components made in China and then final assembly in the EU somewhere. Get a copy of a fashion magazine from 1960 and hunt down a brand that went broke...

???

by asdf on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 07:54:27 PM EST
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Good luck with finding the brand that somebody hasn't already snaffled.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 02:18:07 AM EST
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asdf:
Best if the stuff is made in Europe, to maintain the aura.

that's all we got left, folks...

but it is the cultural mecca it claims to be, chinese, (and the rest of the rich world) worship at the shrine of euro aesthetics, millions for an old ferrari indeed.

some of this aura can be remade in china, but it's a long road to accumulate all the cultural icons we have here, some, like the colosseum, hard to break up and move abroad.

although americans, back in their hegemonic economic growth heyday, did dismantle a london bridge and remake it in arizona, so...

we should run the whole continent as a historical museum, as, except for the germans and their bmw's, panzers etc, we're pretty much running on funny money fumes right now.

onward to the past, the glorious yesteryear!

meanwhile italy has run out of funds to stop the colosseum falling over on the tourists, and with imminent social breakdown on the streets, what tourists are going to come queue outside the louvre, or come and gawk at the acropolis?

riots are everywhere these days, we need peace in the streets to serve those 10E coffees in front of st mark's in venice.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 26th, 2013 at 03:07:37 PM EST
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Europe is going to need to do something more than just keep the Colosseum from falling down to maintain its place in the world. It does take a while to develop globally desirable cultural icons, but as China's economy and overall situation improves--assuming it continues to do so--then they will start to build them up.

Consider Japanese cars. Nothing worth even looking at until around 1960, but then compare the Mazda Cosmo 110S (~1965) to the Lotus Elite (~1960), for example. Both made in roughly the same small number, both technical innovators, and both now worth roughly the same amount on the classic car market. So it is very possible, over a period of only a few decades, to get those cultural icons going.

And China has lots and lots of interesting stuff, and a long history...they just need to clean up some of the historical sites...

by asdf on Tue Aug 27th, 2013 at 01:06:47 PM EST
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China still has the perception of being cheap, nasty, unreliable and rather communist.

Unlike jolly old Europe, which is cultural gravitas personified.

It's easy to forget that Chinese and Indian culture have been around so long they make Euro culture look adolescent.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 27th, 2013 at 01:44:33 PM EST
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ThatBritGuy:
Unlike jolly old Europe, which is cultural gravitas personified.

haha, yes i am aware that china is just as interesting as europe, as attractive to tourism from all over etc.

also how incredibly pompous and constipated the cultural gravitas of which you speak!

the important distinction with an economic difference is that the emergence of a burgeoning chinese middle class with disposable income combined with the current global mania for cheap air travel makes for a window to open wider, cultural tourism is low impact compared to other types like waterfront disfigurement a la torremolinos, or casino gambling a la macao/atlantic city.

we have been saturated with chinoiserie for centuries, they are ready to return the favour and learn from our archetypes.

it's far from ideal, but it can help us tide over the interim between a crumbling oil-maintained infrastructure and the uptake of sensibly sustainable alternatives that still have regrettably low traction, due to suicidally tenacious interests who would rather crash the titanic fantasy world economy as long as they can continue to eat our lunch off gold plates.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 27th, 2013 at 05:44:32 PM EST
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Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny? Somehow a discussion on how to win a class war turns into a reprise of US 60s-80s cultural development, if you can call it that: specifically: hippies --> yippies --> yuppies. :-)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 09:05:12 PM EST
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Sounds great, except that it's rather like exporting to Mars.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 24th, 2013 at 02:15:46 AM EST
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asdf:
Oprah's $38,000 handbag incident should set everybody back on their heels. Not really because of the suspected racism, but just the fact that there is a handbag that costs that much.

i saw a philipp plein one on the web yesterday for E100,000.

made of crocodile leather and aircraft steel remnants, IIRC

phillip plein handbag 100000 euros - Google Search

Oct 29, 2011 - Der Designer Philipp Plein hat mit seinen auffälligen Kreationen ... "Wir haben Taschen für 100 000 Euro verkauft", erinnert sich Plein.


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 26th, 2013 at 02:55:46 PM EST
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