The Freakanomics blog has a good post on obsession with weddings, commenting on the ridiculous amount of money that people are increasingly spending on these single-day vanity bashes. An interesting stat mentioned in the post is that Americans spend 14 billion dollars a year on engagement rings and other matrimonial garb. Now this pales in comparison to our country's defense budget, but is still a significant amount of cash. Why do people spend such large sums of money are seemingly useless pieces of rock and metal. At least a golden toilet serves some practical purpose beyond pure aesthetics, but jewelry has no real use-value. Yes, they are very pretty to look at, but so are rainbows, and you don't have to spend several months paychecks to look at them. The diamond and jewelry craze seems to be a product of both cunning advertising and the insatiable desire for private property. It is not enough that these "treasures" exist, but each person feels they must privately own a piece of it.
I was thankful this summer for the release of the movie "Blood Diamond", hoping that it would reveal the true human costs of the diamond trade. But alas, it seems to have had no lasting impacts on the public conscience. It seems that Hollywood is only expected to produce non-fictions, and movies any semblance of truth or fact in movies are dismissed by the public as not having any possibility of being so. Regardless, the diamond trade continues to brutally harsh. Maybe if a little disclaimer were placed next to the price tag: "(number) of poverty-stricken people were killed or injured in the production of this overpriced symbol of opulence. (number) of people were also displaced from their homes and (number) of families were broken up. Lives are transitory, but diamonds are forever."