Trapped in Consumption: Modern Social Structure and the Entrenchment of the Device

Thomas Michael Power

in Technology and the Good Life?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780226333861
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226333885 | DOI:
Trapped in Consumption: Modern Social Structure and the Entrenchment of the Device

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This chapter argues that consumerism is the result of market forces and is maintained by those forces. Market forces constrain our choices of what is realistically possible for most of us to choose. Blindness to this fact will only ensure that consumerism remains the dominant way of life in modern societies, regardless of how many people may wish to live in alternative ways. However, the chapter's reform tactic is not to do away with the market system, but rather to bring into relief how the market constrains (rather than enhances) choice to consumption and how the market depends on a human-crafted social context without which it would be brutal and inefficient. The chapter also emphasizes how we are already intervening to constrain the market from interfering with aspects of our well-being. Bringing these factors into the foreground will enable us to reform the market that now practically forces us to live the kind of life Borgmann critiques.

Keywords: consumerism; social structure; market forces; modern societies; market constraints; well-being

Chapter.  9853 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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