The twisted psychology of capitalism—and why it won’t hold sway foreve

To further this cause, the “Madmen” of the postwar years drew on a vision of humanity that cast us all as restless, insatiable consumers. Their latter-day mimics pursue our every move with algorithm-driven marketing, promising unrivaled happiness—so long as we continue to shop. Was it our imagination? Or did lockdown bring a step-change in our online exposure to instant gratification? We know it isn’t real. But the lure is irresistible. Like kids in the candy shop, we are continually persuaded to spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need—to create impressions that won’t last on people we don’t love. In the meantime, the poor still suffer. And the planet reels from our indulgences.

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