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Editorial: The Future of Cargo Issues

Can we talk about an aesthetics of convenience? The problem with convenience is that it can be extremely boring (e.g. every chain store). Boredom is definitely an aesthetic issue.

The accumulation of things is impossible to ignore, yet apparently it’s equally impossible to discuss without sounding trite. Social narratives have changed gradually, and now only macroeconomic symptoms are addressed, while sociological conclusions and economic results have become an equally speculative exercise. In times of booms, bubbles, casino economics and austerity measures, economic processes are rendered as pure abstractions. Our faith in the market is at both ends of the gamble, and as much as we wish not to, we always participate in the game.

In order to truly understand the economic game, attention needs to be paid to the priorities, expectations and tone of the players. Faith should be abandoned.

Faith in the market generates a smoke screen that covers our necessities and our desires. As a result, we’re unable to see the consequences of our purchasing power. A passive paradigm is established. Consumption becomes automated.

To stress the significance of certain subjects (behavioral economics, colonialism, consumerism, exploitation, imperfect competition, imperialism, labor inequality, market failures, materialism) is received with cynicism. Multiple readings are not allowed, while our social lives have become vampire slaves to the aforementioned taboo subjects. No other options are presented. An efficient supply chain is a black box.

Maybe the problem isn’t entirely the accumulation of things per sé, but more so how those things were produced and then accumulated. The exchange system, in spite of being popularly understood as dynamic, also operates within a passive paradigm. Commodities determine the semantics of convenience, while the process is disguised as consensus.

Exchange and distribution shouldn’t operate in darkness. The same needs to be applied to our own priorities, to our reliance on convenience and to our exceedingly high expectations. Priorities, convenience and expectations form a psychotic circular pattern that blindly leads us into a vicious spiral. Each one quietly controls. Neither of them allows for reflection or alternatives.

But we’ll still consume, it’s inevitable…

What happens after the bubbles (besides more bubbles)? Maybe living in decadence will be the only option/conviction. Decadence could free us from the aesthetics of convenience. But in the end it’s not only an aesthetic problem, there are also ethical realities we must confront. Dystopia was the future, but now it’s the present. The conjugation has changed. It’s time to start getting used to the present tense; that’s the future.