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Luxury and Luxuries

Luxury refers to a condition of comfort characterized by opulence, elegance, and the enjoyment of desirable, inessential and rare objects, and pleasurable activities. As term, concept, and practice, luxury presents a complex history in Western cultures owing to its connotations of distinction, privilege, and self-indulgence and because of its relevance to notions of progress, stability, and decline. Already amply debated in the Hebrew and Greco-Roman civilizations, excessive sumptuousness and spectacular display have traditionally proved controversial issues. A gratuitous and therefore “scandalous” waste of resources, luxury has been associated with immorality and sin on a variety of levels. It is indeed significant that the Latin luxus has an etymological connection to luxuria, or lust. In particular, Western cultures have traditionally figured the pernicious effects of luxury ...

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