"Luxury" is a local term. In the "National Language", it is said, "Huanzi, arrogant and extravagant, with endless greed and desire, ignores rules and acts arbitrarily." Obviously, the word "Luxury" is a derogatory term. Generally speaking, luxury means "extravagant waste of money, over pursuit of enjoyment.?/div>
As for the "luxury goods" in Chinese, it is actually a borrowed concept, referring to the English word "luxury". But what is on earth Luxury? Oxford Advanced Learner's English-Chinese Dictionary explains as follows: a thing that is expensive and enjoyable but not essential; Cambridge Advanced Dictionary explains like this: something expensive which is pleasant to have but is not necessary; And Webster dictionary's explanation is: something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary. Throughout these three dictionaries, we know that "luxury" generally has three key points: good, expensive, non-essential.
Although the explanation "extravagant waste of money, over pursuit of enjoyment" in Chinese also contains these three characteristics, in respect of expression, the English explanation is more neutral, not too negative.
But even if in English, the word "luxury" is not an absolutely commendatory term. Good, expensive and non-essential are relatively concepts. They are not appropriate applying to academic discussion. People always want to know how good, expensive, and non-essential the product is luxury. With the help of 80/20 rule, in the similar products, 20% of the products is the best, but they are too expensive and non-essential products for 80% of the people, we can define these products to be luxury. Of course, the 80/20 rule is just a casual statement. We can further refine the concept of luxury goods, such as 90/10 rule. Then we can define top luxury from luxury.
In these three concepts, we can easily treat with "non-essential" concept. We just need to check the market capacity of this product, to see how many people can offer this product. Then we can generally determine the degree of this non-essential product. For example, every one need drink water, 100% of the share determined that water is a must-have thing for everyone; in contrast, only a very, very few people owns private plane. Then private plane is not a necessity for most of the people.
As for the concept "good", it is relatively difficult to explain. The benevolent see benevolence and the wise see wisdom. The so-called good or bad is actually a very subjective question. For example, you like the design of a master very much, but the other person definitely hate this design, then how to define this design, good or bad? It is not conclusive. For this trouble, the ideals of most of the people and the point of the master might give an answer. However, I think there is a easier way, you'd better choose a more objective standard as the judgement of good or bad. For example, on the fabrics, the 200 pieces is better than 100 pieces; and the same on a leather piece, the leather without flaws is better than one with flaws. They are a relatively objective comparison. Of course, it has some disadvantages if we all use this objective way to evaluate a product, such as the neglect of creation, artistic features and other humanized things. However, the benefits of this way are obvious. The result of judge is basically same. The evaluation of diamond is the best example. People use a series of objective standards to measure diamond and there are no too much subjective elements.
Finally, we come to the "expensive" concept. "Expensive" naturally means high price. You may see it is easy to judge a price. But for me, only the price level itself is not enough. There is a problem that is the list price and actual price of goods. In my opinion, expensive features of luxury should be lie on its natural quality rather than owner's opinion of this product. What does that mean? For example, some outstanding designers are often designed high price brand clothes. The high price of this works is the high design fee for the designer. This is a fixed cost, high design costs don't directly lead to the high costs. Mass production can save the cost of production. Many cooperation between less-expensive clothes labels and brand designs, such as Matthew Williamson 's design for Debemhams, Philip Treacy's design for Mark & ??Spencer, prove the feasibility of this method. Now many brand clothes sells in high price. That because they want to reduce the target customers, to get fat profit through high price. In my eye's, this "expensive" good can not count the true expensive luxury. The expensive feature of luxury goods should not be merely in the average cost, but should be reflected in the marginal cost. Take custom suits and shoes for example, they are luxury goods and have a high price because of their natural expensive characteristics. Except for the materials, the workmanship of the masters determinates the high price. The crafts can not be mass produced, so the marginal cost of each product are generally close to its average cost (of course, also including business operations, marketing promotion fixed costs). These products are real luxury. I always think that the reason why a luxury is so expensive is firstly because of its fine material, then its crafts and finally its design. The more important things are scarcer and those things can not be mass produced. Good raw material and good technique are both these things, while the design is not always the case.
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