What is a luxury good?

Yes, I know the economic definition of a luxury good but I want to know the Monkey's definition of a luxury good. (For those that don't, I'll post it at the end)

I recently read about a guy who has spent a great deal of time documenting what, exactly, a dollar will allow you to purchase in the supermarket. The example he likes to use, and the one that made me think of this, was that of a blueberry. He claims, and I have no idea if this is true or not, that a blueberry is considered by nutritionists to be a super food full of all the nutrients a person could possibly need. A dollar will apparently get you roughly 22-24 run of the mill blueberries at the grocery store but if you want the organic blueberries, those cost about 10 cents a piece or about 10 for a dollar. He goes on to claim that these 'normal' blueberries have less nutritional value than the organic version because of the pesticides used in farming them. The point is, you pay more to get the better stuff (I was shocked too). But when does this 'nutritional premium' make something a luxury rather than a necessity?

Here's the question I'm posing to you my fellow primates as you start your week. Where's the line? When does food become a luxury? Or, better yet good or service? Transportation? Most of us, with a little effort, could easily use public transit and negate the need for a car but don't for convenience sake. Is this a luxury even if your car is tore up from the floor up and was passed down from your parents to your sibling and then on to you? Clothing? Grooming? Pick whatever item you want.

On a forum populated by people largely influenced by compensation and status, I was curious as to how some of you would answer this. We talk about Ferragamo Loafers and Patek Phillipe Watches on WSO almost every day but when does something go from being a necessity to being a luxury in the real world, not in the textbook?

According to LSE Glossary of Economic Terms:
Luxury Good: One which has an elasticity larger than one

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Comments (13)

Nov 22, 2010 - 3:14am
blastoise:
My lover, my life. My shorty, my wife.

Is that a luxury good or an expense...I thought you were anti girlfriend anyway squirtz

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Nov 22, 2010 - 7:55pm
happypantsmcgee:
blastoise:
My lover, my life. My shorty, my wife.

Is that a luxury good or an expense...I thought you were anti girlfriend anyway squirtz

dude wtf you don't know who kanyee west is ?!?!!?

Nov 22, 2010 - 8:08pm
blastoise:
happypantsmcgee:
blastoise:
My lover, my life. My shorty, my wife.

Is that a luxury good or an expense...I thought you were anti girlfriend anyway squirtz

dude wtf you don't know who kanyee west is ?!?!!?

Wait wait....Is that the rapper that peed on that girl's face or is it the one that got shot and started a cross country feud? I get them all mixed up......

Nov 22, 2010 - 8:08pm
monkeysama:
blastoise:
happypantsmcgee:
blastoise:
My lover, my life. My shorty, my wife.

Is that a luxury good or an expense...I thought you were anti girlfriend anyway squirtz

dude wtf you don't know who kanyee west is ?!?!!?

Wait wait....Is that the rapper that peed on that girl's face or is it the one that got shot and started a cross country feud? I get them all mixed up......

he didn't pee on her that was special affects

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Nov 22, 2010 - 8:14pm
blastoise:
happypantsmcgee:
blastoise:
My lover, my life. My shorty, my wife.

Is that a luxury good or an expense...I thought you were anti girlfriend anyway squirtz

dude wtf you don't know who kanyee west is ?!?!!?

it's not kanye...

dude wtf you don't know who nelly is?!??

Nov 22, 2010 - 11:38pm
blastoise:
happypantsmcgee:
blastoise:
My lover, my life. My shorty, my wife.

Is that a luxury good or an expense...I thought you were anti girlfriend anyway squirtz

dude wtf you don't know who kanyee west is ?!?!!?

what blas said Are lyrics from Nelly

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Nov 22, 2010 - 9:51am
happypantsmcgee:
when does something go from being a necessity to being a luxury in the real world, not in the textbook?

As far as I can tell, pretty much nothing is a necessity. Most things we don't need, we just want. I guess then, the question is, where exactly on the continuum of wants does luxury begin?

  • 1
Nov 22, 2010 - 11:26pm
monkeysama:
I draw the line when the marginal cost exceeds the marginal benefit in my utility function.
Determining the exact parameters of my utility function is left as an exercise for the reader.

By definition, a "rational consumer" would never buy something with marginal benefit less than cost. I think you forgot to include some intangible value to your utility (i.e. a patek has a higher utility than a swatch even though the function is the same, as it strokes your ego or whatever)
Nov 22, 2010 - 8:20pm

Et et culpa qui necessitatibus. Corrupti culpa qui et labore voluptatum. Recusandae ullam dolorem enim libero.

Ea quod aspernatur est excepturi quibusdam. Dignissimos nihil animi doloremque nihil repudiandae. Labore ullam qui consequuntur natus. Ab quidem sit delectus laboriosam maxime voluptatem. Perferendis eum aut quidem qui.

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