Intellectual Junk Food

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You are what you eat, especially when it comes to what you read, watch and listen to.

Certain foods we eat, not because they are good for us, or because they taste genuinely good, but because they are quick, easy, requiring no thought. Mostly, they are crammed with salt, fat, sugar and artificial flavourings that present our brain with sensations of unnatural levels of nutrition.

These foods flood our brains with chemicals that reward us for the successful hunt. Eating this food is habit-forming. Wealthy and powerful groups in society have a strong interest in your forming these habits, and aggressively advertise unhealthy junk food. Making money of you is easiest when you are unconscious of what you are eating, this is self-evident.

Tired workers eat junk food, but it does not contain everything they need, does not energise them. Children fed on junk food may never develop a taste for real, honest food. We simply consume it, alienated from its origins, which are inseparable from its substance. This is as true for ideologies as it is for food.

If you aren’t careful, ever more of your life becomes sapped of creativity. Food, and ideas, become stripped of awareness, pre-packaged for mindless consumption.

Both nutritional and intellectual junk food are created for profit in a capitalist society. Again, the origins are inseperable from the content.

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You are what you eat. If you choose to eat a mass-produced, flavourless meal functionally identical to everyone else, you are that much closer to expunging yourself of individuality, meaningful agency, a life of your own distinct from others.

It is commonly conceived that society exists to serve humans, but this is only true insofar that an animal exists to serve the cells of its body. Society is an engine made of human beings. Sometimes, we can exert our will over it with the power of our ideas, but we are also dominated by it.

If humans sleepwalk through their lives, society manipulates them like the dishonest servant of an oblivious master.

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Minds are impressionable, particularly at a young age. It is profitable to mould them in certain ways, particularly by encouraging them to think in shallow ways. By fostering materialism, society creates people who are eager to spend money often, working constantly and borrowing extravagantly to fund it. All of these activities help to generate profits, which is ultimately the driving aim of capitalist society.

It is not surprising that society fosters ideas in people to support its survival. In fact it seems inevitable that the most enduring patterns of society will be those that inculcate useful attitudes in their constituents. Society exists primarily in those attitudes and beliefs, and the behaviours they produce.

The attitudes and behaviours that society inculcates, as often as not serve society, not you.

This is similar to the way your body encourages actions that serve, not you, but the blind interests of your genetic code. For instance, eating loads of fat-filled, sugar-rich food. Blissfully unaware of the recently understood dangers of obesity, your body sticks to its ice age attitude to food.

I address you, the thinking, feeling being that is reading this, because I want you to think about how many of your behaviours serve to make you happy, and how many exist to preserve the society or biology you exist within.

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Media has an agenda, just as the fast food industry has an agenda. I’m not trying to promote conspiracy theories; I’m not saying fast food is filled with mind control agents, or that the media is part of a conspiracy to brainwash you.

I’m simply saying that the narrative produced by the media is organically linked to the means of society’s reproduction. By a process of evolution analagous to natural selection, societies that survive tend to systematically produce ideas that aid their survival.

For instance, myths about the ruler being an infallible being, or even a God, are often found in autocratic societies. The reason why is obvious — it helps autocratic patterns of society resist change.

Our society’s myths are less obviously false, from our perspective.  They are hidden to us because they don’t need to be made explicit, instead they are present in the framing of ideas.

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These myths revolve around consumption and work in a capitalist society. What is possible, what is desirable, what is important, what can be changed, these are understood through the lens of atomic individuals.

Unhappy at work? Change yourself, because your workplace isn’t yours to change. Even better, buy something that will change you. Feel unhappy in your own skin? Keep looking at images showing unattainable beauty standards. Coincidentally, these images are also marketing beauty products and fashion accessories, so buy those while you’re at it!

We are constantly subjected to media we do not have the conscious intention to consume, namely advertisement. And the message hidden in advertisement is that buying products is the key to happiness.

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To be continued

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Why Property Markets Are Wrecking The British Economy

Land ownership is one of the most corrosive elements of contemporary capitalism.

Until the 20th century, land in the UK was owned exclusively by just under 5% of the population. Now, around 70% of people own land. That sounds like a great news, but this figure masks deep structural problems within the economy. Continue reading “Why Property Markets Are Wrecking The British Economy”

The Paradox of Thrift

thrift

The paradox of thrift is a Keynesian concept, revolving around Keynes’ theory of aggregate demand and its effects on the economy. When the economy is not doing well, i.e. not growing, individuals tend to save more on the basis that they may have a smaller income in the future, essentially saving for a rainy day. However a problem arises when large numbers of people within an economy choose to save their money as opposed to spending it, as this leads to a reduction in consumption and therefore aggregate demand. People buy less, and so companies do worse, leading to a ‘reverse’ multiplier effect that reduces the income of everyone within the economy.

 Therein lies the paradox—that when large numbers of people do what individually seems a rational action, it actually has a negative effect on all of them, indirectly via the negative effect their actions have on the economy. It links to the ‘fallacy of composition’, that being the idea that the sum of the parts is not necessarily equal to the whole. The positive individual effects of saving money are not replicated on a large scale, but rather quite the reverse.

 Whilst it might be said that individuals storing money in banks would not have the aforementioned effect, due to the fact that money stored in banks is lent out and invested,, this does not take into account the likelihood that banks in such an economic climate are also cautious with their money and unwilling to lend freely.

 Other criticisms of the paradox of thrift include the concept that as demand drops, in this case due to a high savings ratio, prices also drop in accordance with a simple supply-demand diagram, and allow the market to regain equilibrium. There’s also the possibility that savings can be invested abroad, perhaps in order to stimulate net exports, and this would not have the aforementioned effect, but instead help the economy to recover from the recession. However on a global stage, the paradox of thrift is not affected by this possibility, as there’s nowhere outside of the global economy for exports to go to; the global economy is a closed system.