As I was reporting my story on "The End of Credit Card Consumerism," I spoke with Robert H. Frank, author of Luxury Fever and professor of economics at Cornell University. He told me that because of gas prices, the environmental movement, and other cultural factors, he expects a small bungalow in the city soon to be considered more luxurious than a 5,000-square-foot home in a gated community. "That will seem like so yesterday," he says. Similarly, Frank notes that SUV drivers are now considered "chumps" in many circles.
I was too embarrassed to tell him that I drive an SUV, albeit a hybrid. But I am definitely familiar with the sentiment he's describing. In fact, a Hummer not far from my neighborhood was vandalized last year by people who disapproved of its gas-guzzling ways.