Dot-Com Daze Gone

"Slumdog Millionaire" child star Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, 10, left greets director Danny Boyle as he leaves after a press conference in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, May 27, 2009.
AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade
When we first met chef Christian DeLouvrier in 1999, AOL was just shy of 85 points, Enron was already cooking its books and the chef was cooking up the most expensive soup in the world made with white truffles at a cost of $60 a bowl.

When we asked him if he thought people would pay the $60, DeLouvrier said, "I think so, I really do think so."

Well he was right. Back then millionaires were a dime a dozen and the good old days couldn't get any better.

Today, as CBS News Correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports, things are a little different in Delouvrier's kitchen.

He is adding items to his menu for some customers who understandably might no longer feel wealthy enough for $60 soup.

These days he's working on putting together a fixed-price dinner for $5 more than the soup alone used to cost.

Does that include soup?

"No," says a laughing DeLouvrier.

When the dot-coms and telecoms were fattening wallets, giddy experts talked about the wealth effect feeding the economy. Now they talk about the reverse wealth effect.

"Everybody shuts down that type of ostentatious consumption even if they have the money to afford it," says the Nobel Prize-winning economist Lester Thoreau.

Thoreau says you don't have to be wealthy to suffer the reverse wealth affect.

"You don't do those outrageous things and you might not even do some standard things," he says. "You run the car for an extra year as opposed to buy a new car.

"And no $60 bowls of soup."

Economists may worry about reverse wealth but Sarah Gray Miller doesn't. She's editor in chief of a new magazine called Budget Living due out this fall.

Her economic theory: Lack of wealth doesn't have to mean lack of style.

So what's in?

"Vintage dresses, very in," she says.

When asked if that means used, she replies, "Well, you can say it that way."

If you believe her, reverse wealth is almost as much fun, as the real thing.

"It's not about being a tightwad," she says. "It's not all closed in and miserable.

"It's about having it all and not spending as much money."

She almost makes it seem like people have a choice. When you realize that the market has lost about $8 trillion of investor money, it's fun to imagine that someone might prefer to turn up his nose at paying through the nose.