On ruin porn

By highlighting poverty, urban deterioration, and economic and ecological crises, ruin imagery underscores the inability of capitalist society to protect its citizens and its cities. As national economic imperatives clash with the demands of globalized capital, the decrepitude of cities like Detroit, Buffalo, and Cleveland feeds a pervasive cultural pessimism that foresees violent disintegration and collapse — whether through viral pandemics, ecological destruction, warfare, or deindustrialization.

Hence the paradoxical appeal of ruin imagery: as faith in a better future erodes, the beauty of decay helps us cope with the terror of apocalyptic decline. In the cultural imagination, the idea of Detroit has come to serve as the repository for the nightmare of urban decline in a world where the majority of people live in cities.

via The Ruins of Capitalism | Jacobin.

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