Some of you may remember my mini-series of posts intended to help students weak in Economics, given my immense humility and sheer willingness to help others in the world who are not as clever or handsome as I am. Today we shall be looking at a deviant form of consumption and learning how to hit L3 (analysis of theory) in essays.
Inconspicuous Consumption refers to the surreptitious purchase or consumption of a particularly embarrassing good or service. Quantity demanded is hence not responsive to upward or downward movement in prices, but is dependent on The Number of People in the Store. Examples include condoms, Viagra and Instant Syphillis Remover – Just Add Water.
One can easily see how troublesome inconspicuous consumption goods are to the government in shaping economic policy. You can affect the price of a good by imposing taxes or subsidies, but you can’t change the number of people in a store. Policy options are thus very limited on the supply-side, so what the government should be looking at should be to affect demand using a string of advertising campaigns. These will seek to let the consumer know that purchase of these goods should not affect their self-perception or social standing in any way, eg. email campaigns such as “Gonorrhea is but a state of mind” or “More Viagra doesn’t mean less man!”