Grant Wei: Consumption



Photography, Text and Video by Grant Wei, Copyright 2018




“Household income is equal to investment plus consumption.”

How cute. In terms of generating sustainable economic growth, the optimal allocation for capital and labor in an economy is almost always an investment given enough consumption to sustain population growth.

However, it seems almost… wrong. What is the purpose of generating economic growth if we cannot consume our income in ways that generate a desirable level of utility? It seems as though there exists some sort of underlying purpose to life other than to generate economic growth.

But the question is — when is it enough? How do we allocate our income to generate the most utility in our lifetime? Is that even the purpose of life at all?

It seems almost instinctual. We think about what we want to eat or what we want to wear, but how much of our thought process is guided by a series of conscious decisions as opposed to vague inclinations?

And so, I wanted to capture the things that we consume, the objects in our lives that allegedly have a sense of meaning other than contributing to the growth of an economy.

Because, supposedly, our possessions should bring happiness to us. Supposedly. But, in the context of a constant drive towards external validation that will never come, is it really?

We constantly observe the cycles of our life driven by the whims of our desire to consume, but where does our sense of consciousness play in? We want. And then we want more. And more. And more. Until we die, and we stop wanting.

And maybe, that’s the summation of our life: a series of whims that contributed to some economic growth in the long run.



About The Author: Grant Wei is a Sophomore enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020. To access additional articles by Grant Wei, click here


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