When I took Advanced Institutional Economics, I wrote a research paper suggesting that people could conspicuously consume via counterfeit products. For people who don’t have wealth, counterfeit products offer a cheap alternative to falsely display their wealth and income that don’t exist.
I argued that people who engage in this counterfeiting of conspicuous consumption get away with it because the technology involved in making counterfeit products has become very good, making it difficult — at first glance — to distinguish between real and fake products.
In addition to better technology, people aren’t “intimate” with products these days. They don’t know what to look for in a luxury item, so it’s easier to pass something off as a luxury product even if it’s not the real thing.
New research from three scientists suggests that there may be some psychological costs in wearing fake products though.
Notably, the women wearing supposedly counterfeit goods cheated even though the “fake” sunglasses were randomly handed out, suggesting that it was not something about their self-image going into the study that led them to cheat. To the contrary, it was the very act of wearing the so-called knockoffs that was triggering the dishonesty.
The entire paper isn’t posted, but from what I was able to read, wearing fake products not only makes you fake, it turns you into a dishonest, filthy cheater!!!