Golden Goose – Why Not Rip Off The Rich To Beat Poverty And Inequality?


If you were to say that the world is grossly unequal I’d not disagree. I would want to point out that it’s getting better of course but that’s just a statement about how if it remained as it were then that would be a bad thing. We could then go on to discuss things that do make this better – or perhaps worse. And to be honest, charging rich idiots $500 and change for distressed sneakers strikes me as something that will make the situation better:

Give them the boot: $530 distressed sneakers accused of fetishizing poverty
Italian brand under fire as critics call selling expensive shoes that appear to be falling apart ‘peak capitalism’

Given that absolutely every other fetish is now to be celebrated I’m not quite sure this is a valid criticism. But still.

The Italian sneaker brand Golden Goose has come under heavy criticism across the internet this week as images of their Superstar Taped Sneaker have circulated. The sneaker, the latest example of the “distressed fashion” trend, is designed to appear worn and beaten up.

“Crumply, hold-it-all-together tape details a distressed leather sneaker in a retro low profile with a signature sidewall star and a grungy rubber cupsole,” reads the description of the sneaker, for sale at Nordstrom for $530.

Many online have accused the brand of fetishizing poverty, pointing out the cruel irony in people being able to afford such expensive sneakers while so many others are forced to wear their own until they fall apart without being able to think of it as a fashion statement.

“There are people in the world wearing plastic bags as shoes because they can’t afford any but these HIDEOUS things are selling for $500 the fashion industry is truly so f**king stupid it pisses me off like what the actual hell ??????!” wrote one offended Twitter user.

Well, yes. Those sneakers are undoubtedly made in the same factories that make all other footwear, the toilees in which make many times what they’d get in the absence of such work. That sounds like a useful contribution to ending poverty. Indeed exactly this sort of thing, that we all now buy things made by poor people in poor countries, is what has been slashing away at the level of poverty in the world.

Perhaps we’d prefer to complain about inequality? Which, along with poverty is something the world still has too much of. OK, that’s fine. So, rich idiots are about to be $530 in the wallet lighter. That money then all goes off to other people around the world, all and everyone in the supply chain gets a cut. Near all of whom are going to be poorer than the rich idiots now $530 lighter.

We seem to be both reducing poverty and reducing inequality by having some frippery as a Veblen Good. Can’t see the problem with this myself but then I was never very good at the “but reasons” argument.