What Have We Wrought?

Abby Zimet

The decline of the American Empire, we know, is about large and complex forces, from global economic changes to war to greed to the inchoate fraying of a communal thread. But surely, in some small way, it's also about this: a hand-crafted, chrome-plated, logo-engraved $300 toothpaste squeezer. They also have $530 jeans and a $1,045 cigar ashtray. Our stuff will be the profligate end of us.

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