Is Addiction Efficient?

Not to put the horse before Descartes, “I post, therefore I am” is a common sentiment shared by me and every other blogger addicted to putting their thoughts out in the cyber ether. Indeed the addiction to media, the Internet, to shopping, smoking, drugs, sex, etc. is pervasive in modern society to say the least. It’s safe to say that the pillars of capitalism are built on addiction. In other words, if you’re hooked, you “consume” and if you consume, you keep the economic engine chugging along...but has that ideology reached a point of diminishing returns? Here's an amusing little video that captures media addiction all too accurately:



So what's the point really? Is it not true that all addicts are essentially searching for satisfaction through their addiction but are coming up short every time? Thus, the cycle continues and the fat capitalists get fatter, right? But at what cost?

If at the core of addiction is a universal need for satisfaction, wouldn't it make more sense to organize commercial systems around satisfaction itself? What would "consumption" look like if we did that? Would economies be less beneficial to society or more?

Though this is a larger topic that warrants discussion beyond my blog post, my feelings on this are clear. I believe we now live in connected paradigm of civilization where the real costs of “consuming” have little choice but to be balanced by serving the ecosystem in which we participate. If we don't benefit the network as a participant, we don't survive here. The natural analogy is pretty obvious. Accounting for waste and provisioning for creating new customers shouldn't be just “ideals” but essential for creating sustainable satisfaction. A brand must not only entice you to merely buy to feed the addiction, but enable you to participate in the system which creates ongoing satisfaction.

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