Understanding Life in a Dynamic Commercial Culture

Aletse López  | 28 de septiembre de 2018  | Vistas: 82

Virginia Postrel, author and speaker,  share her ideas on culture, commerce and its relationship with the free market. She analyzes the possible reasons of why people buy unnecessary things.

Postrel define culture as all the knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, religions, roles and all the things that we take for granted of the human environment that we live. She states that in order to understand life, we must understand the dynamic and commercial culture. She emphasizes that says it is important for us as human beings, as intellectuals, and as people who are interested in freedom and market to think about culture.

Culture includes the economy, it’s not separate, its part of culture”

Economists like David Hume and Adam Smith were just interested in the culture and economy as they were in the statecraft.  Postrel explores the concept of subjective value by asking: why people buy things they “don’t need”? There’s usually two answers for this question: manipulation and status competition. Postrel says they’re not the whole truth.

When you think about commerce, and culture, and individual freedom, think about suddenly getting the ability to choose your own clothes, like little children.“

The people who have examine this the most carefully and from the most individualist point of view, were feminist scholars that were often on the left. Virginia analyzes the liberation of women over time and its relation with the market. She explains the changes in the 19th century in the departments stores that enable women to go out, have a public life and be able to shop with their own money their own clothes.

In conclusion, Postrel proposes questions to think about what is subjective value, why does a free society work and what’s the relationship of culture and free market.


Author, columnist and speaker


Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.

Universidad Francisco Marroquín