The Future Laboratory – ‘When the poor have the choice between culture and luxury, they always choose luxury first.’
Monday night saw The Future Laboratory’s CEO Chris Sanderson debating this quotation, attributed to Thomas Hardy, and other issues in a panel discussion about luxury in an age of austerity on Radio 3’s arts and ideas flagship programme Night Waves.
Chris was among a distinguished group which included Giles Fraser, former canon chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, Robert Frank, the author of Luxury Fever, Maxine Berg, professor of history at the University of Warwick and historian Michael Scott.
They discussed the democratisation of luxury and how – and whether – we should control the global appetite for luxury as the middle classes in developing economies are set to double over the next 10 years.
The panel also explored how society’s understanding and consumption of luxury has evolved over time. Luxury today has shifted due to social pressures, they proposed. Luxury is no longer always about product, it can now be a behaviour and is often something that is ethical, environmentally friendly and delivered sustainably.
Hear their wide-ranging conversation in full on the Night Waves website