On Capitalism & Consumerism

On the contrary, I identify with the article because I know how stupid I am.

I know how manipulatable I am. I know how easy it is to hijack by overclocked-monkey-brain instincts. I know how subject I am to addictive behavior. I know how far I am from my ideal self. I know how much vigilance it takes to get closer to that ideal self.

I know that I am barely conscious for most of my life. The decisions I make throughout the day are mostly automatic, governed by forces trained on habit rather than intention. To live deliberately is a nearly impossible struggle with the meager tools at our disposal, and I'd be the last person to fault anyone for not doing it, or even for not desiring to.

It is not contradictory to believe that capitalism is the most effective engine for driving human ambition towards useful goals, and at the same time, decry the perverse incentives it creates to manipulate people against their interests and to destroy the environment.

I believe that capitalism is the best way to optimize a civilization towards an objective function. I don't believe that that objective function is correct, particularly when the the people optimizing for it have the ability to change it (through brand advertising, government influence, etc.) We ignore the tragedy of the commons at our peril.

In addition, a person freely making a bad decision of their own volition is not moral insulation for offering them that bad decision in the first place.

Couldn't agree more. Here's the article this fantastic Hacker News comment by moultano is referring to.