Black Friday Shopping And The Philosophy Of Futility

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"The goal for the corporations is to maximize profit and market share. And they also have a goal for their target, namely the population. They have to be turned into completely mindless consumers of goods that they do not want. You have to develop what are called 'Created Wants'. So you have to create wants. You have to impose on people what's called a Philosophy of Futility. You have to focus them on the insignificant things of life, like fashionable consumption. I'm just basically quoting business literature. And it makes perfect sense. The ideal is to have individuals who are totally disassociated from one another. Whose conception of themselves, the sense of value is just, 'how many created wants can I satisfy?' We have huge industries, public relations industry, monstrous industry, advertising and so on, which are designed from infancy to mold people into this desired pattern."

-- Noam Chomsky

I stopped by Lowe's yesterday to pick up some mouse traps and got into a conversation with another customer when I stopped to admire the miniature Christmas village display. He was a middle-aged man who told me he had four grandsons with expensive tastes. "I can hardly take care of myself, let alone buy this stuff they want," he said, shaking his head.

"You're the grandfather, that's the parents' problem," I said.

No, he said, his son and daughter were drowning in credit card debt and he worried about them. "My son already filed for bankruptcy once and I think he's going to have to do it again," he said. "Look, I live a simple life. I have a prepaid Tracphone in my pocket, I use dial-up internet. When I retire, I'd like to move to North Carolina because it's a lot cheaper to live, but it's too long a drive and I know my kids wouldn't come see me."

He told me the grandkids wanted things like iPods and video games for Christmas. "The oldest one is eight," he said. "I just don't understand why you have to give kids that young whatever they want."

He said it was nice talking to me, and walked away.


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