by Charles Hugh Smith
Of Two Minds
The heretical truth is that many of the “consumption rituals” that signified “prosperity” for decades are either meaningless, unaffordable or require way more effort than the meager payoff is worth.
Of all the economic heresies imaginable, perhaps the most heretical is to recognize what we label “prosperity” as increasingly meaningless rituals more akin with Soviet-era staged parades than actual well-being.
This is the most dangerous heresy because it breaks the link between consumption–the core activity of our economy–and human happiness. If conspicuous / surplus consumption is ritualistic rather than fulfilling (i.e. it adds to our well-being), then it becomes meaningless or even corrosive.
The focus them shifts to the negative consequences of consumption, i.e. how the rituals of consumption are eroding / disrupting our well-being.