Ah yes, capitalism is to blame

Other studies have shown that toddlers feel happier giving treats than receiving them, says Music. “Then we have evidence that adolescents asked to do a good deed once a day become less depressed. We’ve evolved to be helpful and to do things without reward. Rewards don’t make anyone happy and something very fundamental is lost when we reward for certain behaviours. We all know it, but we’ve lost sight of it as we’re suckered into the consumer ethos, the deep insistence that we need that iPhone or that new kitchen to be happy – and we fall for it again and again. Those very powerful drivers of post-industrial capitalism and mass media are brilliant at triggering those needs and, after all, you can’t sell wellbeing.”

Two year olds are the most selfcentred beings on the planet. The idea that their natural altruism is converted by capitalism is something that only a child psychiatrist could believe.

Not someone who had, you know, ever actually met a human child.

12 comments on “Ah yes, capitalism is to blame

  1. Who are these people that allegedly feel they need new kitchens to be happy?

    I mean, I’ve fitted new kitchens in my time, but my happiness was never at stake

  2. “We’re losing empathy and compassion in dealing with other people in our society,”

    Really? Compared with when?

    Compared with when it was OK to ridicule homosexuals and black people on prime time television?

    Compared with when it was OK to slap your wife around a little bit?

    Compared with when it was OK to burn Catholics, Protestants, or alleged witches at the stake?

    When was this mythical golden age of tolerance and compassion from which we are regressing? Was it just before Labour lost the last election, by any chance?

    “Rewards don’t make anyone happy”

    Some ideas are so incredibly stupid it takes an academic to believe them.

    “we’re suckered into the consumer ethos, the deep insistence that we need that iPhone or that new kitchen to be happy – and we fall for it again and again. Those very powerful drivers of post-industrial capitalism and mass media are brilliant at triggering those needs”

    In other news, lefties fall for the idea of “false consciousness” to explain why the real world stubbornly refuses to align with their ideology. They fall for it again and again.

    “after all, you can’t sell wellbeing”

    Which is why Bupa, Holland and Barrett, self help books and religion don’t exist.

    “A very monetised western world is going to make us more and more lose touch with our social obligations,”

    Which explains why people take such good care of the poor and the vulnerable in countries like Somalia, while they leave them to die in the notorious slums of Switzerland.

  3. I need a new kitchen.

    I don’t need it to be happy (although it will probably somewhat reduce my only-apparently-unending stock of grumpy), I need it because my old kitchen is, well, at the end of its natural life (and probably wasn’t that superb when it was first fitted).

    A new Porsche, on the other hand, would probably make me quite happy. Although I don’t “need” one.

  4. What I don’t understand about the left is that if it’s bad for me to be rich (which I am only relatively speaking, I’m nowhere near the league of the third Viscount Stansgate), indeed so bad for me that they need to make me unrich, why is it good for the person they make rich by making me unrich to be rich?

  5. Surreptitious Evil – “A new Porsche, on the other hand, would probably make me quite happy. Although I don’t “need” one.”

    Perhaps we can contact whatever Funding Body this tosser is in touch with. They clearly have more money than they know what to do with. We can ask them to buy us a Porsche each (I will take a vintage 911 thanks if a 356 is unavailable) and then we will see how happy it makes us.

    I am thinking that depending on how dumb the local totty is, it ought to be child’s play to disprove this idiot’s thesis.

  6. If rewards don’t make people happier I suppose we will stop hearing so many complaints about low wages?

  7. Nick – “If rewards don’t make people happier I suppose we will stop hearing so many complaints about low wages?”

    If only. But we could test the claim it is better to give. I suggest the government works out who is paying what percentage of the total tax take. Work out what is spent on each and every school and hospital. Then put name plates up in each ward and classroom naming the tax payers who sort of notionally actually paid for it.

    I actually do think tax payments would go up.

  8. “Two year olds are the most selfcentred beings on the planet.”

    So there’s a lot of two year olds writing CiF columns..?

  9. I wonder if those two year olds happy at giving has anything to do with them being richly praised to encourage them to share?

    Or are we to believe that two year olds spontaneously shared their sweeties and toys with no prompting or encouragement?

    So by giving, they got a reward: praise.

  10. Young children do do unconsciously selfless things, of that I’m sure. But yes of course they’re also very self-centred, naturally so.

    but what really interests me, watching my daughter grow, is what seems to be her innate sense of property rights – the desire to acquire, the sense of possession, the cherishing of that which is hers. Plus, she’s a proper little tea leaf. I’ve no reason to think she’s different from any other child in any of these respects.

  11. In order to give then someone has to receive, so is the converse true?
    If so then 50% of the people involved will be unhappy, if not then it seems odd that people aren’t forever giving away stuff.

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