Tune in to a conversation about short-termism and the self-centered economy at Google-Cambridge.
With every new technological development and innovation, today’s businesses learn better how to target our desires and passions, how to market their products to the appetites of the populace. We’ve never lived in an age in which targeted advertising can become so entangled in our personal, social, and civic pursuits. Yet we forget—and often ignore—the implications and consequences of this entanglement.
This is why Paul Roberts’ new cover story for The American Scholar is so important. Excerpted from his new book, The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification, Roberts considers the way our economy has enmeshed itself with society, and the consequences this relationship can have on our personal and political lives: Continue reading
By David Takami
America in the 21st century is much like a spoiled child who wants everything right now — quick profits, the latest smartphone, entertainment on demand — with no consideration of long-term costs or consequences. This is the withering appraisal of Paul Roberts’ brilliant and thought-provoking new work, which is sure to become one of the most talked about books of the year. Continue reading
Thoughtful consumerism isn’t so easy these days — in many ways, it’s getting harder as the marketplace gets better at targeting what shoppers want, writes guest columnist Paul Roberts.
I TRY to be a conscientious consumer. Buy local when I can. Avoid multinationals that blatantly exploit their workers. Help my kids understand why newer and faster aren’t always better. But thoughtful consumerism isn’t so easy these days — in many ways, it’s getting harder as the consumer marketplace gets better at getting under my skin.
Take Amazon.com. The mega-retailer makes buying so quick and effortless — with personalized recommendations, free two-day shipping — that each purchase doesn’t really feel like an act with social implications I need to think through. Continue reading
“Roberts builds a deeply troubling case. Our political culture demands rapid, visceral responses. Roberts challenges us to reverse course, to re-engage with complicated, enduring problems. He asks us to question just how fulfilled and evolved we truly are, and what we have lost along the way.”