Excerpted from the interview Capitalism is turning us into addicts posted at Vox.com:
Sure, everyone needs to eat, but not everyone needs to tweet or buy 13 pairs of sunglasses or own a closet of products that add nothing to their life apart from marking their identity and status for other people. These are the sorts of manufactured demands I had in mind, and they’re harder to pin down than our appetite for things like booze or junk food.
David T. Courtwright:
Ten years ago I would’ve agreed with you. I would’ve said nobody really needs to tweet, nobody needs a Facebook page. But there are what I call opt-in and opt-out technologies.
Once upon a time, the internet and internet access were opt-in technologies. In other words, you adopted these things, you learned how to use them. But now I think we’ve reached the point where they’ve become opt-out technologies, where you’re going to have to do something radical or unusual like go off the grid or throw away your smartphone to escape it.
Once you’re in an environment where you’ve got to have this device, you’re in an environment where you will be constantly exposed to what the policy analyst Jonathan Caulkins calls “temptation goods.” You may have a firm resolution to use your smartphone just for email, or just to check the New York Times, or for a handful of other more or less straightforward functions, but sooner or later the convenience of these other devices and other apps will creep up on you and then you’ll become enmeshed in all of it.
Another way to say this is that as consumers we swim in a sea with sharp hooks everywhere. Fifty years ago, the main hooks were drugs like alcohol and tobacco. Those were the primary addictive threats. And now there’s been this tremendous multiplication of hooks in our consumerist sea.
You can read the full article HERE.