My last trip to Burning Man was in 2008. On my return this year, I found it had changed not for better but for the worse. The week-long festival in the desert used to bring out the best in its attendees but now I noted it had fallen far short. Sixty-six thousand attendees and at an approximate intake of over $26 million had brought more glitter but not richer souls. Selling things was still banned in camp (with the exception of coffee and ice). But a fervent backdoor economy has sunk its giant teeth into the heart of what was once a beautiful, cooperative experiment.
This year's event screamed conspicuous consumption for some bored multimillionaire techies. Pre-cooked meals have been replaced by personal chefs that whip up delicacies, such as sushi and steak tartare. People went from camping in tents in 1999 (back when I first went to Burning Man) to renting U-H...
Also read: Mike Mayock's pick-by-pick draft analysis