Consumerism

Consumerism #

VegaMaw

Vega’s Maw, made for me by @NewtWolfdeer

Look, I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of falling for the tricks used to get people to consume. To buy and buy more. A good sale, even on something I didn’t know I previously wanted, still has a way of making my dumb lil' human brain go “OH!”

The problem is that consumers can easily fall into traps that lead them to buy things for a stupid reasons, these include:

  • Buying something expensive as a status symbol
  • Buying the ‘New version’ which has no meaningful improvement
  • Brand Loyalty (not always bad)
  • Buying from businesses that prevent repairs
  • Buying from businesses that abuse workers or their rights

among many, many other things.

Under Capitalism, there are oposing forces here. On the one hand, greater consumption means more jobs, more money flowing, means a better enconomy, means everyone gets to live a better life.

(or at least this is true if you subscribe to the hyper-capitalist propaganda we’re fed from birth in the US! Yay, Capitalism is all sunshine ☀️ and rainbows 🌈 and absolutely can not be criticized or you’re an evil comunist!)

On the other hand, holy fucking shit everything is on fire. People buy useless shit wrapped in enough plastic to create a fucking Texas sized trash island in the Pacific, we support companies that actively fight against our right to repair or which make products with extreme Planned Obsolescence, and most of us work meaningless jobs just to be able to afford to pay for a fancier car that we will mostly use to get to that job. Meanwhile, if you don’t have a credit card and debt, you’re also fucked because you need to maintain a good Credit Score.(1)

But the real problem is that we all go to work to pay for shit that we don’t need, that we’re not allowed to repair or don’t even really ‘own’(2), that mines our data to advertise to us after we’ve bought the product(3), that randomly removes features years later(4), that we’ve been told has value it doesn’t(5). It’s not turtles all the way down, it’s just piles of bullshit.

We buy too much shit #

We buy to much shit.

TODO: individually wrapped wastes of money for holidays makes me feel gross

Enforcing Protections #

Planned obsolescence, Right to repair #


"To refuse to inform yourself about the basic operation and maintenance of the equpment you depend on was to passively accept that tyranny and agree to its terms: when your equipment works, you'll work, but when your equipment breaks down you'll break down, too. Your posessions would possess you."

- Edward Snowden, in his book Permanant Record


Anti-consumer practices #

https://dvt.name/2020/02/24/rfc-lets-disrupt-dating-apps/

Advertising #

This video from Tom Scott provides a ton of background information and makes some really good points

Avoiding the Frigid Hellscape of Online Marketing (Soatok’s Blog)

Native Ads #

psst, if you don’t like YouTube sponsorships spots check out sponsorblock - just be aware of the morality of doing so and like, support people on Patreon or whatever.

Dangerous ads #

Sugar Drugs

Credit #

App lets banks lock your financed phone if you default on payment

Accelerating Change and Information Overload #

The world is getting faster. Things are moving, flashing at us, blinking with neon colors and screaming at us in increasing attention grabbing, addicting ways. There’s now the attention economy, where time in front of your eyes is evaluated to be worth an increasing amount. An ephemeral cloud of mist, lurking in the air that has been given the moniker The Algorithm influences our choices more and more each day.

This sounds like some sort of plot to an 80’s scifi thriller set in the far future, but instead it’s just part of our /r/ABoringDystopia/ . I know I’m addicted, but that’s the funny thing about true addiction, you don’t really want to stop. I know that speed of things, the ever increasing nightmare of [political shit slinging](political shit slinging) and the amount of news on it is bad for me. That being only a click away from something more interesting has rotted my attention span. That a culture of consumption has made it harder for me to spend time creating. I know that I could make a conscious decision to limit my time on reddit, or to spend more time outside, but sitting in the same spot is comfortable. I’ve dug my own little hole and surrounded it on all sides with walls a mile high to protect me from the advertisements and dissenting views, but in the process I’ve lost so much. I try to read an article on Fox or anything on r/conservative and I get irrationally angry. So instead I keep to browsing my Algorithmically Tailored home page, but after seeing things that interest me I get on a bind of just one more page or I’ll only scroll to one more post or I’ll read after this video and then, even if I do manage to break free and escape into a book, I’m one ~Binng~ of a Telegram notification away from being brought out of my book for something that I find more immediately gratifying.

Then, to add onto that, the censorship, not only are we algorithmically bound to see some content over others, but because of strange advertisement, government, and platform policies and the increasing stupid fact that we still use centralized services, the ever increasing amount of excess photons that we didn’t even ask for that we get blasted into our retinas is filtered in a way that discourages actual free speech because some people’s speech is prioritized.

But, I’m getting off topic, the point of this was to discuss and propose a solution to the issue of being bombarded with information, ads, physical and digital, and content that was not requested.

[TODO…]

Retrograde complaining about Google

[TODO]

[TODO] The Dark Reality Behind America’s Greatest Thrift Store Empire

Something I’ve written while thinking about this: #

I’ve posted things like this here before, but I feel like I need to again in light of recent conversations with friends: On Facebook, you are the product and you are you should know what you are funding. I think at this point the Cambridge Analytica scandal[1] is pretty well known, but that is nothing compared to the other things in Facebook’s past. At one point Facebook targeted teenagers and filtered their news feed to be mood based which was found to lead to real world mood changes [2]. But even if these things don’t bother you, you think Facebook just made a mistake, there’s the case of Facebook’s content moderation team being paid less than a living wage and being exposed to situations which lead to severe mental illness [3]. Speaking of mental illness, Facebook owned Instagram’s recommendation algorithm has been found to recommend pro self-harm content to those most vulnerable, which has actually lead to deaths [4].

Think about who you’re giving your data, money, and views to and on what platform you do so. There are alternatives. You don’t have to sell all your data to big organizations to stay in touch. I use Mastodon [5] instead of Twitter, Telegram instead of messenger [6] and a combination of Reddit and the things above instead of Facebook. You do have a choice. If nothing else you can use Facebook in a separate browser or in a container [7] so you’re at least not funding them in full.

Just like voting and contributing to your community, having digital responsibility is important too.

Thanks for reading this, if you want to talk about digital privacy or security you can shoot me a message here and I’ll get back to you next time I log in, or you can message me on Telegram and I’ll get back to you right away.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/…/facebook-cambridge-analytica-expl… [2] https://www.nytimes.com/…/facebook-tinkers-with-users-emoti…

[3] https://www.theverge.com/…/cognizant-facebook-content-moder… [4] https://www.wired.com/…/when-algorithms-think-you-want-to-…/

[5] https://joinmastodon.org/ [6] https://telegram.org/ [7] https://addons.mozilla.org/…/fire…/addon/facebook-container/


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