In the late 19th century, the sociologist Thorstein Veblen wrote about conspicuous consumption. In the 20th century, Jackie Gleason's signature TV character Ralph Kramden reminded his wife that "when you got it, flaunt it." Fast forward a few years and an Arab sheikh from the United Arab Emirates just earned bragging rights for giving a 21st century example in how to burn cash when you're filthy rich.
Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Ahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi's ruling family, has lots of money to spend and spend it he does - with a penchant. He's reported to own more than 200 cars. But that hasn't quenched his thirst for greasing the local economy. According to the Daily Mail, the sheikh has had his name carved in sand on an island that he owns. But this isn't your usual billionaire wonder-of-me self-adulation jones; he had the letters made so large that they actually are visible from outer space. The name "HAMAD" measures 1,000 meters high and extend a couple of miles wide on Al Futaisi island, which also happens to be the sheikh's private property.