This significant trend defines zeitgeist and creates a context for other trends.
The researchers and media more often raise the topic of social inequality. In the "The world's 2,153 billionaires are richer than 4,6 billion people combined, Oxfam says" article, Business Insider reported
about the Oxfam study, saying that 2153 billionaires of the world are more abundant than 4,6 billion people in total. The annual Edelman Trust Barometer rating based on the opinions of 34,000 people from 27 countries and Hongkong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) revealed that the global community is dissatisfied with capitalism and want social justice and positive changes.
The new convolution of supercapitalistic polarization and the influence of social networks create a situation where the main word in the context of poverty and wealth is demonstrativeness, ostentatiousness. People talk about these things out loud. We observe the trend for logo-centric design, logomania, flex, exaggeratedly expensive lifestyle. The parallel processes and phenomena are social protests and extreme minimalism, demonstrative through the YouTube vlogs, and unnecessary decluttering as a part of popular konmari cleaning. European worldview implying prudence, vast middle class, elegant, conscious, and environmentally friendly consumption, is a real-life trend if the developed countries, but anti-trend in mass culture.
We observe "Yellow Vests" in France, trade unions' protests against raising the retirement age, and eco trend. In Scandinavia, student dormitories are made from transport containers. In the spring of 2020, a topic of living on the brink of poverty or below the poverty line aggravated globally. Meanwhile, the media cover a billion-dollar wedding by the wealthiest family in India. In South Korean urban culture, a theme of prestige is fundamental. Simultaneously, the "Parasite" movie by Bong Joon-ho, exploring the psychology of poverty and wealth, became a global hit in 2019. Fashion for the pop-up containers inside cakes stuffed with bundles of money and iPhones emerged in the Chinese urban culture as a birthday fun.
In the era of social networks and supercapitalistic competitions, modesty is no more a virtue praised in society. Periodically, the musicians' influential "cultural monopoly" demonstrates a shocking opulence to its audience, which does not have this amount of resources. A significant number of YouTube creators deliberately overeat the enormous portions of noodles and fast-food, show a luxury lifestyle, and release the vlogs about their shift to total minimalism.
The ideologist of konmari concept Marie Kondo opened an online store with new belongings for a minimalistic house.
It's important to mention that in contemporary culture, the demonstrative simplicity of lifestyle is not always about poverty. More often, in this aspect, we see the mixed narrative: demonstrative simplicity with evident well-off or abundance. It's about Ultra-Expensive Ultra-Minimalism and the change of expenditure structure depending on the stratum values.
The concept of Luxury is changing and laminating. The products of luxury brands became accessible to a bigger number of people. Social media influencers are incredibly interested in luхury attributes. On this background, the level of consumption upsurge in the communities of extremely affluent people. The American luxury department store chain released 2019 Christmas Book, 60th edition of Fantasy Gifts, the luxury goods guide for extremely plentiful people. Luxury shoes customization, rare limited edition sneakers, famous chef master class, a vending machine with superfine champagne, gilded suitcase, cutlery designed by Pharrell Williams, baroque-style boxing gloves by renowned fashion brand, etc. The site also mentions its non-profit organizations and charity activities.
At the beginning of 2020, Henry Windsor and his wife Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, resigned as the senior royals and representatives of Queen Elizabeth II; they refused privileges and pledged to return part of the taxpayers' money, spent on their lifestyle. A couple also announced their decision to become financially independent, and among other things, devote themselves to charity.
According to the UN ("Multidimensional Poverty Index 2019: Illuminating Inequalities"), around 1,3 billion people in 101 countries (23,1%) live in so-called Multidimensional Poverty. Half of them are under 18 years old, and one third are children under ten years old.
This trend has a broad scale of forms, and it covers all layers. The big picture looks especially dramatic on the background of the Covid-19 pandemic, aggravation of the themes of poverty and wealth in the media space. The ways of reactions to the described trend lie in the ethical sphere, and the appropriateness criterion regulates them. The creation of the branded social lifts, the constructive help to the poor, support for medicine and research, other socially-oriented activities of marketing in the 2020s will significantly influence the perception of brands and products. It is reasonable to look at this trend in categories of opportunities and risks, associated with such trends as the changing relations of Xers and Baby Boomers with the market, the formation of the Generation Z mentality, acts of impressive generosity, the formation of the modern traditions, aggravation of the envy theme, archetypes of "new nobility," Eco Anxiety, flex, Marketing FoMO, emotional outbursts, Relatable as a new criterion. According to our hypothesis, the central connection of the described trend is the "Brands and Marketing Depart to Deal with the Real World. Specific Markets" trend. Trend Cases. How Does This Work?
In 2019, the "Parasite" movie by South Korean film director Bong Joon-ho discussing the class problems, poverty, wealth, economic lamination, received Golden Palm as the best film of the Cannes Film Festival, Oscar and many laudatory reviews.
Media often discuss logocentric design as a significant global fashion trend. The audience and critics wonder from time to time ask; whether fashion came down to logos. On the Internet, it's easy to find Cash Cannon branded with the Supreme logo.
There are micro-trends in the vlogs about expensive travel and vlogs where Later Millennials and the Gen Z representatives talk about their devotion to konmari or show their everyday life routines in a "Simple Life" genre.
Chinese vlogger (8,3+ million subscribers by the beginning of 2020) became extremely popular worldwide, showing her simple life in the countryside, sometimes romantic and poetic, sometimes hard and full of continual labor. Her videos always get tens of thousands of views.
The demonstrative wealth of specific communities is often emphasized in the media space by showing mink home slippers by the luxury brand, diamond rings and Birkin bags bought for the toddlers, red jets, morning Instagram* videos about personal supercar park, Louvre rent, Rolex watches as the party VIP invitations, huge diamond inlaid pendants as the gifts to oneself or friends, end so on. These things are displayed through the media and social networks to the global middle class and insolvent youth.
"Palms: Unstatus Quo feat. Cardi B, Rita Ora, Ozuna, and more…" video (19 million views by the beginning of 2020) displays luxurious lifestyles and carries the class messages.
Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner give their children costly gifts, and pop-cultural media always highlight such news. Recently, netizens criticized Kylie Jenner for displaying her billion-dollar fortune: supercars, the office champagne vending machine, and so on.
Some patterns of urban life: young representatives of Generation Z listen to the loud music made by so-called freshmen on the streets; sometimes, this is a piece of flex music, and sometimes the songs about being broke.
At the beginning of 2020, many Russian and global media wrote about the billionaire Michail Fridman's son, who earns a living independently.
Kim Kardashian West displayed on her Instagram* account the magazine photoshoot of her luxurious minimalistic family house. Earlier, she described the interior design style preferred by her family as Monastery.
The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted many problems of the states, cities, and communities. Some celebrities displayed on their Instagram* pages that they were bored in their luxurious manors with a garden, swimming pool, and ocean view. In reply, influencers and the audience pointed them in the comment section that this kind of public communication looks "privileged" and "not relatable," so it can trigger only a painful sense of envy. Simultaneously, the media told the heartwarming stories about mutual help, charity, and financial aid to the people in need.
The 2019 Spanish metaphorical movie "The Platform," filmed by Galder Gastelu-Urrutia, scripted by David Desola and Pedro Rivero, is one of the central cinematographic and philosophical artifacts of our times.
* Meta, Instagram and Facebook are recognized as extremist organizations and banned in Russia.