On destruction

"The consumer society needs its objects in order to be. More precisely, it needs to destroy them. The use of objects leads only to their dwindling disappearance. The value created is much more intense in violent loss. This is why destruction remains the fundamental alternative to production: consumption is merely an intermediate term between the two. There is a profound tendency within consumption for it to surpass itself, to transfigure itself into destruction. It is in destruction that it acquires its meaning. Most of the time in daily life today, it remains subordinate – as a managed consumptivity – to the order or productivity. This is why, most of the time, objects are present by their absence, and why their very abundance paradoxically signifies penury. Stock is the excessive expression of lack and a mark of anxiety. Only in destruction are objects there in excess and only then in their disappearance, do they attest to wealth. At any rate, it is clear that destruction, either in its violent and symbolic form (the happening, potlatch, destructive acting-out, both individually and collective) or in its form of systematic and institutional destructiveness, is fated to become of the preponderant functions of post-industrial society."

-- Jean Baudrillard, The Vicious Cycle of Growth