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Technology and the Good Life?$
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Eric Higgs, Andrew Light, and David Strong Strong

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780226333861

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226333885.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 21 January 2022

Trapped in Consumption: Modern Social Structure and the Entrenchment of the Device

Trapped in Consumption: Modern Social Structure and the Entrenchment of the Device

(p.271) Fifteen Trapped in Consumption: Modern Social Structure and the Entrenchment of the Device
Technology and the Good Life?

Thomas Michael Power

University of Chicago Press

This chapter argues that consumerism is the result of market forces and is maintained by those forces. Market forces constrain our choices of what is realistically possible for most of us to choose. Blindness to this fact will only ensure that consumerism remains the dominant way of life in modern societies, regardless of how many people may wish to live in alternative ways. However, the chapter's reform tactic is not to do away with the market system, but rather to bring into relief how the market constrains (rather than enhances) choice to consumption and how the market depends on a human-crafted social context without which it would be brutal and inefficient. The chapter also emphasizes how we are already intervening to constrain the market from interfering with aspects of our well-being. Bringing these factors into the foreground will enable us to reform the market that now practically forces us to live the kind of life Borgmann critiques.

Keywords:   consumerism, social structure, market forces, modern societies, market constraints, well-being

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