Do you crave a designer bag? If so, why? Is it because the bag is well made, or excessively attractive or incredibly functional in some way? More than likely, it's none of these things. People crave designer goods to be the envy of / or compete with other people.
Thorstein Veblen coined the phrase "conspicuous consumption" in his economic study, The Theory of the Leisure Class. Even though it was first published back in 1899, the book has held true, especially in today's consumer driven world. (Okay, I confess, it's a challenging read, but really makes you think about what drives human nature) I already wanted to club people over the head who think their pooh doesn't stink because they're buying a blouse at Banana Republic, now my disgust is three-fold.
Veblen traces consumerism back to (as he refers to it) barbarian times and then brings the reader up to present day. (as it would have been in 1899, but it's chilling how true his findings still are. Even more so, in my opinion, with moronic shows like Sex in the City encouraging women to buy $1,000 shoes when they can't afford to pay their mortgage.)
Anyway, an interesting read, to say the least.