Fake Goods Vs Reality (2023 Aug)

by Barry A. Liebling

For more than half a century there has been venues in New York City – usually outside on the street – where fake luxury items are sold. Pedestrians are presented with a huge display of phony designer watches, shoes, clothing, luggage, handbags, and accessories. The counterfeit merchandise is crafted to mimic the appearance of well-known expensive brands – including Rolex, Nike, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Gucci.

Prices that buyers pay are negotiable, but are always much less than the real thing and close to the price of a genuine item that does not have the high status (fake) imprimatur.

According to law enforcement officials and journalist observers, there has been a sharp increase in counterfeit merchandise activity. More “merchants” are selling, more “customers” are buying, and the volume of fake products has ballooned. https://nypost.com/2023/07/15/bag-shoe-counterfeiters-back-in-force-on-nycs-canal-street/

Let’s consider legitimate transactions. Who buys authentic designer goods? Lots of people decide to be customers, and their rationale for buying varies. Some people want to acquire the highest quality merchandise and calculate that the famous luxury brands will deliver. They are self-directed and not necessarily concerned whether or not others notice or appreciate their spending habits. Of course, in nearly all cases there are goods with less prestigious labels that equal and even surpass the high status brands in quality at a much lower price.

Some people are deliberately focused on the prestige aspect of their purchase. They want to show others (or possibly convince themselves) that they have impeccable taste and are high-end consumers. This is sometimes referred to as conspicuous consumption.

Note that in a free society everyone has the right to show off and boast about having expensive possessions. Still, if I am asked, my recommendation to buyers is to focus on genuine quality and discount or completely ignore how other people might evaluate your purchasing. Maybe the famous brand will be judged as best, or perhaps a lesser known competitor deserves your business. Having integrity is a virtue, and consistently using your independent judgment is the right path.

Now let us turn to counterfeit luxury goods. The manufacturers and street vendors are participating in fraud and theft of intellectual property, which is criminal and completely unacceptable.

What about the buyers of fake merchandise? Again, motivations vary. It is possible that some do not realize they are purchasing counterfeits. They might think they are getting a terrific bargain. But most know they are acquiring phony products. And keep in mind that the buyers are the main driving force behind the rise of illicit products. If there was not an increase in demand, there would not be a rise in the supply of forgeries.

What can you conclude about people who deliberately purchase counterfeit products? Perhaps they are trying to deceive others and hope to project an image of extravagant affluence. In a related way, it is possible that they are intent on self-delusion. They want to trick themselves into believing (in defiance of reality) that they are exceptional.

But there have always been people who deliberately reject the virtue of honesty. What would account for the recent epidemic? Certainly there are be multiple factors, but the dominant cultural elite is certainly contributing to growing fakery.

For at least two decades the most powerful faction in American culture has been the woke ruling class. This sinister cabal (which dominates most of the schools, the largest businesses especially high technology, the entertainment industry, print and electronic media) endlessly asserts that objective knowledge is not possible. All beliefs, according to the Neo Marxist “intellectuals,” are expressions of power. They maintain that the proper role for ordinary people is to conform and submit to instructions from leftist-progressive “experts.”

And the instructions coming from the woke influencers are irrational, arbitrary, and capricious. A man who “identifies” as a woman officially becomes a full-fledged woman. A woman can likewise make the gender transition at will. Chromosomes are not important. But changing your race by “identifying” is not allowed. Why is one completely acceptable and the other is not? Shut up, don’t question your betters.

How can every bad weather event be due to human caused “climate change,” but all good weather is natural and unrelated to human activity? Don’t be a “science denier.”

Does it make sense to assert that the root cause of all problems in America is ever-present “white supremacy”? If you ask that question you are guilty of “white supremacy.”

Return to counterfeit products. Who is to say that fake designer luggage is not the real thing? Perhaps if the buyer wishes it were authentic, it becomes genuine. If we are told endlessly by cultural “leaders” that truth is malleable, why not apply that principle to what we buy? Apparently, there are a lot of people who do apply this principle, and to them there is no stigma attached to acquiring phony products.

Be aware that the leftist assault on truth is in complete contradiction to the best Enlightenment principles such as – there is truth and you can (but might not) find it, gather evidence, use your own best judgement, take responsibility for your actions, when you make mistakes do your best to correct them. If you think this way, you will not be interested in buying fakes.

*** See other entries at AlertMindPublishing.com in “Monthly Columns.” ***

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