More profoundly, investment in education, healthcare and retirement has a notable impact on consumers’ quality of life, and also on the future life chances of the next generation. Today’s inconspicuous consumption is a far more pernicious form of status spending than the conspicuous consumption of Veblen’s time. Inconspicuous consumption – whether breastfeeding or education – is a means to a better quality of life and improved social mobility for one’s own children, whereas conspicuous consumption is merely an end in itself – simply ostentation. For today’s aspirational class, inconspicuous consumption choices secure and preserve social status, even if they do not necessarily display it.
Come on, friends. At the end of the photos is the name of the town – Promyshlennyi, Vorkuta area – and the photographer, Oleg Shvets.
The western . is studded with ghost towns, none, I think, as elaborate as this one, and rural New England is full of the ruins of long-abandoned farmhouses, now surrounded by forest.
If – when? – the rest of the world forces the . to pull its army bases out (there are some 700+ of them), there will be American equivalents of Promyshlennyi, except that they won’t be elegant ruins – just barracks, shopping malls, garages, etc.