I think of societies and nations as if they were people. It makes it very easy understand cultural and economic trajectories, and emotions that drive them (societies do have driving emotions; for example, right now, the very dominant type in the Western culture seems to be the shallow salesman: he is riding the glorious top wave; it is as true that he is riding it as that he will not last… but he will last a while–f*ck).
And from that point of view, the economic model that has been driving the proverbial developed world since the dawn of the industrial revolution, is akin to compulsive eating. It’s about filling the void.
If you are a person who likes chocolate, and you have five chocolates bars sitting in front of you, you will eat all of them at once (because you can), and then your eyes will pop and your skin will crawl, but you’ve had fun. The whole three minutes of fun. You will most certainly regret it once the three minutes are up but in the moment, you are not thinking. You can. And you do. And you do, while you can. Then, you pay.
I am sure that once the sh*t is completely f*cked up, the society will untangle the consequences just like a human being does. It will cry, it will swear, it will despair, it will pray, it will look inside, it will detox, it will discover humility, it will want love. It will take a long time to repair the damage.
Society’s years are much longer than human ones. We might still be within the three minutes of chocolate gluttony, even though the majority of us humans are the chocolate, not the eater.
But definitely, it is insane to sacrifice happiness, creativity, and long-term health to enormous profits a la immediate gratification. It’s a bad deal. It’s bad for everybody, and especially for the ones eaten.
When Frederick Taylor came up with his scientific management (look it up, too long to type), human creativity of most was intentionally sacrificed for higher profits of very few, via efficiency. And then it was sold as “public good”. It wasn’t good at all. It was a lie. Sadly, the dominant shallow salesman from the first paragraph is still behind the wheel, lips smothered in chocolate. What’s happening in the digital domain right now with Google, Spotify, and others like them, is a part of the same mad car race. Shameless, but most importantly, compulsive.