McMegan brings the horror. Keeping up a churning carnival of worthless delights apparently has the indirect effect of "actually mak[ing] everyone better off." That sub-zero fridge that's too big for your last-season kitchen remodel? It's consumption as moral patriotism, peeps:
The positional competition may not be doing you any good directly, but if it raises national GDP, it will indirectly help you, and everyone else in the country. If you don't want to conspicuously consume just to aggrandize yourself, you should carefully consider whether you don't owe at least it to your neighbors to install the new granite countertops.
Paradox: if falling guilt and justified bourgeois wankery drive our need for psychoanalgesic pills down, does the collapse of the pharma-market suck the wind from the sails of the Good Ship Lollipop?
Bottom line: dumb trinkets are still dumb trinkets, and I'm not sure in the end this vindicates anyone but Aristotle.