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Socially Responsible Consumption, Brands & New Luxury

In a world characterized by insecurity, large-scale reinterpretations, and the rejection and negation of values, it is only a seeming paradox that individual lifestyles and consumption are increasingly subject to collective judgment, pressure to conform to standards and the need for justification. From a social-anthropological perspective, these indicators point to a new age of moralization, a new puritanism. Fairness, solidarity, social and ethical responsibility are the latest magic formulas that need to be integrated into our lives and consumption. In many areas this will mean restrictive or collective authoritarian-controlled consumption. Moreover, demand will shift to differ­ent goods. People will search for a new luxury, possibly experienced as a sense of self-reflection, a withdrawal into private life, authenticity, trans­cendentalism, and conscious attempts at renunciation or being close to nature. In this new age, time and retreat from the world will become yardsticks of value. The principle will be that less is more. Whether they like it or not, companies face the difficult task of adjusting to this change in val­ues. This entails new products and services and, perhaps even more importantly, a dramatic shift in their business model, corporate philosophy, brand and reputation management.