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Wasteful and profuse luxury

The wasteful and profuse luxury depicted in the photographs above reflect the insatiable need for constant growth -- the boundless, directionless quality of the drive to accumulate, possess, and consume. The current system encourages and facilitates this disposition in an increasingly narrow section of society.

These decadent lifestyles stand in stark contrast to the principles of austerity being forced on the vast majority in the West's recession-plagued economies. Amid deepening inequality, images like these can justifiably provoke anger: Lord Aleem, a nineteen-year-old, self-styled Rich Kid of Instagram from Birmingham, regularly posted photographs of his collection of luxury cars outside his home until four of his £500,000 fleet were torched by arsonists last year.

But alongside anger, these images of decadence can also offer the opportunity to imagine a very different world, where wealth is not simply defined by money and possessions but by good health, valuable experiences, and the strength of social relationships, a world where the competitive display of wealth is no longer practiced because luxury is held in common.


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