Thursday, 14 July 2016

Neoliberalism vs. Happiness

The dominant ideology of our times, neoliberalism has a set of main values that may be quite anathema to a happy society.

The three main values of neoliberalism are competition, money-making, and objectification. Workers must compete with one another for jobs and promotions. Money is deified and constantly lauded in the mass media, with many popular songs having lyrics glorifying the accumulation of commodities as the be all and end all. The commodities purchased with the money are promoted almost to the status of the earthly relics of a god. For the objectification aspect, the workers are reified into interchangeable cogs, and their true life interests are never inquired about or encouraged by the system.

These values can be seen in action in many of the most popular smartphone games, such as Clash of Clans, as well as PC games such as World of Warcraft. The games follow the same formula, you compete, earn gold coins, and send minions to die as cannon fodder on your behalf (they are objectified). In other games such as HayDay, you keep the money-making increases by continually reinvesting earned money in more production. Finally, Grand Theft Auto, the best-selling game ever, features killing for money, and women as mere sex objects. Perhaps these games are so popular because competing, money-making, and objectifying is so much easier in the games than in a system where wealth inequality is increasing and wages are stagnating for the majority.

Compare those three main values with the three values for creating happiness given "The Economics of Happiness" 2011 documentary: personal growth, relationships, and a desire the improve society. As I mentioned above, the system has no interest to foster personal growth, only career growth so that you can pay more taxes and spend more on commodities. Relationships are under pressure in capitalism as people have to move for work, often ending up away from their families for extended periods. With the strains of working full-time (where one gets money from working, but no useful goods, as has to use further limited time outside of work to get the necessities) and raising a family at the same time, the divorce rate is close to 50% in many first world nations. Finally, a desire to improve society? Wow, that is where neoliberalism really fails, and it is a system for aggrandizing the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.

For myself however, a desire to improve society is why I write this blog. hopefully I can encourage critical thinking by pointing out the intense propaganda saturation and inanities of the neoliberal system.

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