He who dies with the most toys, wins.
— Ubiquitous late-'80s dictum


Gotta hand it to us Americans, though: we don't simply sit there and let ourselves be exploited, we rush right out and fight to be exploited. Whether on game shows, in bargain basements, on the stock market or in lotteries, we compete with each other for stuff, for the money to buy stuff and for the very right to get and have stuff. Sometimes it's important to have the most stuff, other times it's more important to have the right stuff, and it invariably helps to have the financial ability to acquire stuff, but it's always important to keep up not just with but past the Joneses -- ideally so far out in front of them that they are dependent on your patronage or largesse. Such an impulse is universal (at least in western civilization), but in our construction of democracy, having determines the level of being rather than vice versa.

— Excerpt from Peter Frank's essay for the exhibition catalog.
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