If you have read the previous post, old money, then while you may adore the aesthetic and all, hopefully you will not have too much regard for those in possession of old money. Because apart from everything else, however hard we work, we will never even become close to obtaining their kind of lifestyle. And while we may all dream of spending the days away prancing around large fields in long fancy dresses, wandering around private libraries, not to mention drinking some of the poshest cocktails, we know that the wealth accumulated to allow those people to live in that way, was done so in a hideous manner, thoroughly based off exploitation. But there is a part of us all that would like to attain a lifestyle that may be slightly more affluent than the average. That we of course would have to work rather hard for, so then we can all have a good bit of fun by looking down on all those lazy plebs who are nowhere near as successful. Nonetheless, I would also hope that you are with me on this one. In that it is hilarious that anyone can make fun of older children who still believe in Father Christmas, when there are grown men who believe in trickle-down economics. Ok, if that sounds familiar, then it is. I stumbled across the post on “left wing bible” on Facebook. Appreciate my originality! But if some of the implications of new money are equally as gross, then what is the appeal?
What is new Money?
In opposition to old money, which relates to wealth accumulated a long time ago, passed down through generations, new money “usually denotes a person who has recently gained an immense amount of wealth.” Meanwhile, new money is earned through “salary, business profits, and/or investments.” Consequently, often those with new money can end up having more than those born into old money. This term is also called “nouveau rich”, and while it can be used to separate those who have accumulated new money from those coming from “old money”, it can also be used “as a derogatory term.”
New Money as an Aesthetic
The style of new money is hard to define, because it involves following trends which keep changing, unlike old money which has a pretty distinctive style. However, there are certain aspects of style in which we do associate with new money, being modern, expensive looking and distinctive. That is due to new money being fueled by consumerism and people striving to look wealthy. However, there is a range of assorted styles which do have parallels to new money, including gold (relating to gold), Jetset (fancy jet engines and the like), and minimalism. However, there is another interesting aesthetic, in which many of us may find a little appealing, known as Boujee. But it is important to be aware of the meaning of the term before we wish to get too far in embracing this style.
Ok, ok. If you are reading this as a socialist or a communist, then I see you and I hear you, stop tearing out your hair, ok, as it is not going to fix anything! Everyone else may be wondering about what on earth it is that I am rambling about now. But listen up! It is said that Boujee is a style or aesthetic for middle class people to appear rich. This may appear a bit strange, but if you spend 5 minutes searching for Boujee items of clothing (someone please buy me this beautiful blue top, I promise it is not expensive), then you will understand what I mean. Meanwhile, the less affordable side of Boujee, is associated with expensive brands like Chanel and Gucci. And while Boujee is used to describe the middle classes who want to appear richer, this only really extends to fashion and style rather than actual lifestyle when concerning the lower middle classes. Yet, concerning “boujee” people in the upper middle classes, it is more likely they are more concerned with “wealth, status and all things luxury.” And while these people can be “charitable”, this can “easily turn to narcissism and entitlement.” This makes sense considering that the term “bourgeoisie” relates to the “middle and upper classes that own capital (money, machinery, and other resources used to create more wealth)”, in contrast to the working class, exploited by this, referred to as the “proletariat”. As well as the fact that, at least in my opinion, if one does prioritise money and wealth over other things, it can lead to unhealthy behaviors, and a more negative outlook on the world.
The Appeal of New Money
If you are anything like me, smart enough to understand the social, political, and economic consequences of consumerism, capitalism and people accumulating extensive amounts of wealth, yet nowhere near strong enough to resist the persistent urge to want to work extremely hard to lead an affluent lifestyle in the future, then it is likely that you may find the aesthetic of new money (or “Boujee”) appealing. Yes, you admit it, part of you just longs to live in a glamourous, modern apartment in the middle of the city, being able to afford the nicest food and clothing on the market with no male figure in the background there to help you out! And considering the extent to which materialism and consumerism, as well as productivity culture, is on display to us and most certainly presented under an incredibly positive light, it is no wonder why so many of us would be drawn in.
What is not so Appealing About New Money
While there is a part of us all, who wish we could finally jump on a 1-million-pound yacht and scream that we have made it, we know that accumulating vast amounts of money is impossible for most of us. Regardless of how hard we work. Therefore, while consumerism and I would also like to argue, productivity culture, may try to trick us into believing that it is an appealing but also very acceptable lifestyle, when we consider the disparities in wealth globally, then allowing oneself to be sucked into a system designed to work against us, to the point that we are deceived enough to believe that we can hugely benefit, surely does not add up. Because again, we all look forward to pay day so that we can continue to afford all the essentials and will hopefully be able to treat ourselves, at the same time an excess of money should not be used to fill an empty void within ourselves. Not to mention that there simply are not enough resources available for everyone to live the life of a billionaire, and at least to me, it cannot be right if 1% of people who do work hard become entitled to this life, while the other 99% must work twice as hard, and still be scarcely able to put food down on the table.
The Conflict Between New and Old Money
As already mentioned, nouveau rich can be used in a derogatory way. But when I say this, I am not referring to those who are disapproving of new money, due to their opposition to capitalism and consumerism, but those in possession of old money. Some with old money believe that those who have not been brought up into the world of money cannot be truly part of the aristocratic class. What is more, is that those with new money do not know how to spend it wisely due to their heavy focus on materialism, while those with old money have enough experience to invest their funds wisely. This distinction stems back from Ancient Greek times, where “many Ancient Greek texts refer to those with newly acquired money as being placed on the lower rungs of society, while those with old money were well-respected.” New money is also faced with suspicion because it is thought that not all new money is accumulated legally.
To summarise, new money is interesting to consider both as an economic/political concept and as a style. But before we enjoy putting on yet another flashy dress, or before we enjoy sporting a golden necklace, remember the background concerning new money may not be as appealing.