Addiction in a Capitalistic World

Capitalism is when people and companies make most of the business decisions and own most of the property. The goods are usually created by the companies and sold for profit. Having a society based on capitalism allows for the use of habit-forming strategies in advertising and marketing goods, not making technology addiction any easier.

A Threat Faced by Capitalism

Americans are relying more and more on technology like smartphones, social media, gaming consoles, and shopping sites. These online platforms have taken control of everything we do. Our phone has everything like checking our text messages, games, or our social media apps.

There is no such thing as boredom anymore as long as our phones are charged. The aim of new powers in the digital age not only gain and keep their customers, but they create a dependency on their products. In order to see technology’s true potential, we need to understand how it is transforming our lives.

Limbic Capitalism

Limbic capitalism encourages excessive spending and even addiction whether it is unintentional or not. It is at the point where companies are designing their products to ensure a dependency towards them. This is called the limbic system because the limbic center of your brain deals with pleasure, motivation, and other functions that are important for survival.

Companies are offering products that will hit you with a surge of dopamine that can change your brain and cause you to commit harmful behaviors. Conducting sophisticated research is key to grabbing the attention of buyers to ensure their products make a lot of money.

What Happens When Addiction is Linked with Capitalism

Carmakers, appliance, and cosmetic companies prey on the desires their customers have as long as doing so allows you to buy their products. It takes more than simply advertising to attract someone to a product. It is unhealthy the power that technology can have over us as well as worsen our social relationships.

When we cannot get a decent Wi-Fi connection, we get angry. We even risk our own lives when we text and drive because we feel a notification we receive simply cannot wait.

Being too hooked on our phones and social media feeds to make personalized decisions for us can cause our free market to no longer be free. 

What Keeps Us Wanting More

There are other methods to draw more people into your products like personalized deals on shopping sites, the thrilling competition of gaming, and precise recommendations on YouTube that make us want to keep coming back for more.

Even the auto-play function on YouTube purposefully makes it hard to disengage from videos. We experience a rush of anticipation as we wait for our social media feeds to refresh to see what others think of our posts.

Putting rewards into a game or app can suppress our judgment and reasoning while activating dopamine, the reward center of our brain. Just the idea of having to refresh an app or a social media feed is for the purpose of strengthening the craving of an immediate response. 

Technology Companies Manipulating Our Behavior

A good business tries to know their customers desires. Being too reliant on technology can cause companies to observe our virtual habits. The more they understand us, the easier it is to be manipulated by it.

Companies study what we search for, what we respond to, and what times of the day we are online. We hardly recognize these manipulation tactics like the use of ads in these apps or being sold directly by the seller.

It may seem that apps like Tik Tok, Snapchat, and Twitch are free, but we are still giving these companies our time and personal information. 

Taking Advantage of the Reliance of Technology

These companies know just how heavily we rely on their products and services up to the point where they will use tactics to ensure we continue paying more for their products. Tracking our purchasing patterns can cause these companies to make offers based on what each individual is willing to pay.

For example, one study showed that the price of headphones in Google search results varied depending on the user’s search history. Another study by Brandeis economist Benjamin Reed Shiller showed that a seller with access to an individual’s browsing history can increase profit by 14.6%.

Just like with any addiction, we may not be proud of how we are spending our time, but cannot find it within ourselves to abandon our new bad habits.

Important Changes That Can Be Made with Addictive Technology

American society already tries to make restrictions with habit-forming substances like restricting the age you can buy alcohol and cigarettes and where they can be consumed. There are many states where gambling is illegal and regulated. But, what is to say about habit-forming technology?

The technology that is the most addictive may need to be put behind the counter or given a warning about the dangers of its use as well as an age restriction like anything else. At the end of the day, these companies need to think about the psychological consequences that come with being addicted to these products.

Without any awareness, companies will continue to take advantage of the vulnerabilities these customers have with their spending habits. Instead of creating these products with the purpose of developing a dependency, the game or the app can still be enjoyable for the moment instead of a lifelong addiction you end up struggling with. 

Located in Huntington Beach, California next to a beautiful pond, Silver Lining Recovery is a serene outpatient care center that believes in staying relaxed while receiving treatment. Silver Lining’s philosophy is the most effective way to treat addiction is to find the underlying cause of it and offer professional help. Their customized treatment program offers a number of different individualized therapies with knowledgeable and experienced counselors to be there for you and uncover unresolved issues like EMDR, CBT, DBT, meditation treatment, faith-based treatment, and academic and career counseling.  For more information, please call us at (833) 847-6984.

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