Adam Smith om prylnördens estetiska sinne

I Adam Smiths verk The Theory of Moral Sentiments [1759] kan man läsa en rolig beskrivning av människor som gillar funktionella men onödiga prylar av allehanda slag. Stycket finns i en sektion som behandlar just ”the beauty which the appearance of UTILlTY bestows upon all the productions of art”.

How many people ruin themselves by laying out money on trinkets of frivolous utility? What pleases these lovers of toys is not so much the utility, as the aptness of the machines which are fitted to promote it. All their pockets are stuffed with little conveniencies. They contrive new pockets, unknown in the clothes of other people, in order to carry a greater number. They walk about loaded with a multitude of baubles, in weight and sometimes in value not inferior to an ordinary Jew’s-box,[1] some of which may sometimes be of some little use, but all of which might at all times be very well spared, and of which the whole utility is certainly not worth the fatigue of bearing the burden.

[1] [Editor:] Presumably a box of wares carried by a Jewish pedlar.

Adam Smith (1982), The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund), s. 180.