Living in the Product Age

The society we live in strange: skewed towards material possessions, consumerism and one-upmanship. We are surrounded by smartphones, tablets and gadgets. We are bombarded by adverts for cars, clothes and consumables; each one “better” than the one before. We are offered a hundred products a day and we’re told that if we don’t have the latest one, we will fall behind the curve.

Even industries that previously didn’t feel the need to push sales like that have jumped on the bandwagon. Microsoft have recently gotten into the gadget game with their Surface Tablets and Windows Phone 8 platform. Banks no longer look after our money, they sell us “investment products”. Travel agents sell the idea of a perfect moment in some far off locale as a product.

Our society appears to package everything as product. Even us. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and G+ don’t make their money by charging you and as the quote goes: If you’re not paying for it; you’re the product. Our ideas have, likewise, been turned into products. There are many companies who’s sole purpose is to take advantage of the convoluted international patent system by buying up ideas and then charging people for their use.

Reality TV shows like Big Brother and Fear Factor have taught us that even human dignity has a price tag.

Perhaps it is indicative of a society that has trouble dealing with abstract concepts. Perhaps we need to package, label and price everything so that we can have a frame of reference in a world that is moving more and more into the non-physical realm of the information age.

Whatever the reasons or justification, I cannot help but wonder what damage we are doing to our collective psyche. I don’t like the idea of living in a world where every possible concept has been nailed down and given a price tag. But hey… maybe that’s just me.

-Odd

“Our economy is based on spending billions to persuade people that happiness is buying things, and then insisting that the only way to have a viable economy is to make things for people to buy so they’ll have jobs and get enough money to buy things.” -Philip Elliot Slater


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I’m not entirely happy with how this post turned out. It feels a little stuttering and unfocused. Oh well… I guess that’s what you get when you stop writing for a month and I’m far too lazy to rewrite it. 

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