Capitalism, Decay, and the Commodification of Everything / by Simmon Li

Some rough notes for thoughts I had. Consumerism (or the commodification of everything) permeates through everything we do. While we still have a strong sense of value, the conception of value has shifted (value is, after all, socially defined). And so, in an odd way, the market system has increasingly led us to value things that cause decay. And this skewing of value has everything to do with the commoditization of time, health, children, etc. Everything is driven by this in the Western world.

A good example is pharmaceuticals, and in particular depression and its solutions. Your health is a commodity, and it can be bought with pills that will make you feel better. And so, increasingly we value this quick fix solution. Let me finish by saying that there are cases where depression is a structural issue (a chemical imbalance), but more often than not it is an issue of self-marginalization and lack of empowerment (Marx's alienation? I need to read more).

Here's another one I just read about. The commodification of time has lead us to value our time differently. Things like sleep-time are under valued because that time is not productive in an economic sense. And so we sleep less and less in an effort to be "more productive". The consequences are pretty clear, society continually deprives itself of sleep and bad things happen.

If anything, this is a good book title for someone much smarter than me to capitalize on.

Let's generalize!

consumption -> capitalism + value theory (prices) -> prosperity + over-consumption -> consumerism -> commoditization of everything -> skewed sense of value for material goods (value theory shifted by sociological forces) -> consumption of false-value goods -> decay

Hmm.

In some ways, the unrestricted capitalism we know is the root of a lot of societal issues.

 

Capitalism, Culture, and the Commoditization of Everything. Might be a better title.