Being ECO-FRIENDLY is the new status symbol

Ryan Murphy of SMU's Cox School of Business says being eco-friendly is the new status symbol.

By Fiona Macrae
Science Editor for The Daily Mail

Forget a four-wheel drive, loft extension and long-haul holiday. To keep up with the Joneses, all you need do show off your green credentials.

Economists said that ostentatious displays of wealth have fallen out of fashion - and are even seen as crass.

Instead, conspicuous donations to charity, buying second-hand clothes, collecting 'useless' university degrees, using politically correct language and making a point of not watching television are all signs of status. . . 

Economist Ryan Murphy, who reviewed research on topic, said that fast cars, gaudy diamonds and grand parties have fallen out of fashion to such an extent that they are seen as being distasteful.

Professor Murphy, of the Southern Methodist University in Texas, said: "A wife adorning herself with a fistful of diamonds perhaps could once convince herself that she wears the diamonds because they look beautiful and she loves her husband but, broadly speaking, most of her dinner companions would see it as crass.

"In other words, most elements of Western society have moved beyond associating ostentatious displays of wealth with high status. If anything, it is simply considered rude; one could say must signal you are not signalling."

The new trend doesn't just have implications for those keen to fit in. It also has important financial implications for governments.

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