And of course this is what we should expect from a system that runs on production and consumption. But what happens when marketing becomes active manipulation?
Could You Be Hooked? Surprising Addictions
More precisely, what happens when companies use science and technology not only to refine our pleasures but to engineer addictive behaviors? As our understanding of psychology and neurochemistry has advanced, companies have gotten better at exploiting our instincts for profit.
Think, for example, of all the apps and platforms specifically designed to hijack our attention with pings and dopamine hits while harvesting our data. What does it mean and why should people be aware of it? Well, limbic capitalism is just my shorthand for global industries that basically encourage excessive consumption and even addiction. And yet that same system is now susceptible to hijacking by corporate interests in a way that actually works against your long-term survival prospects.
The short answer is that companies offer products that will produce a burst release of dopamine in a way that conditions and ultimately changes the brain and develops certain addictive behaviors, which is to say behaviors that are harmful. Now, people have always peddled products that are potentially addictive.
- Capitalism is turning us into addicts!
- All That Glitters.
- Addicted - definition of addicted by The Free Dictionary.
- Understanding Drug Use and Addiction.
What sort of industries or products are we talking about? Who traffics in limbic capitalism? What happens in the last few decades is an explosion of technological innovation and mass production and mass marketing and, most recently, the rise of the internet, which has really accelerated the process and opened up new spaces for limbic capitalists to both grab our attention and sell us more products.
The point about digital technology seems especially important. Everyone who has a smartphone in their pocket, everyone who uses social media, everyone participating in the digital game is, one way or another, a prisoner of limbic capitalism. Every time we hear that ping from a like or a retweet, we get that dopamine hit.
Smartphone technologies arguably accomplish this better than any device or product in human history. The recent controversy around vaping and Juul seems like a good example of how limbic capitalism works in practice. So number one, limbic capitalists target the young.
- Expat Evertonian The diary of a football fan working abroad Part 2: A Clearer Picture!
- For a New Liberalism (Cato Unbound Book 10102011).
- Kinderalltag: Kulturen der Kindheit und ihre Bedeutung für Bindung, Bildung und Erziehung (German Edition).
- Mass No. 11 in D Minor, Nelsonmesse: Dona nobis.
- Opioid Misuse and Addiction Treatment: MedlinePlus.
- The Science of Addiction!
This is probably the most politically sensitive aspect of limbic capitalism. The idea of vaping, the idea of a harm-reduction smoking replacement device for confirmed devices is great — who could object to that?
Addicted | Definition of Addicted by Merriam-Webster
Las Vegas is a great example of this. Eating is not a manufactured demand. 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. 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.
Examples of “addicted”
It took some time, but Sylvester made it back home. For the past two years, Sylvester was one of the 28, homeless people in the Bay Area. A BART passenger snapped a photo of him, a sign he was alive but in desperate need of help. Two months ago, Berlinn broke her silence and asked our viewers to help her find her son.
Last month, Sylvester was arrested in San Mateo County. People from his past continued to reach out. Sylvester has been placed on a wait list for an open spot at a drug treatment program with the Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services, Berlinn said. He needs inpatient care as soon as possible, she added. Charles Flores, a board certified addiction specialist who has never treated Sylvester, agrees.