Sydney Morning Herald: Pick of the Week

September 26, 2014

Something profound and disturbing happened between the 1970s and the present. “The consumer marketplace effectively moved inside the self, and is now inseparable from not only our desires and decisions, but also our very identities.” It is a big statement but Paul Roberts makes a persuasive case that even as the market allows us to instantly gratify our desires through computer technology and easy access to credit, the increasing emphasis on short-term self-interest at the expense of long-term social cohesion is leaving us anxious and insecure. Our response to which is to buy more stuff. This unprecedented power to shape our identities at an individual level, says Roberts, leaves us unable to make sacrifices for the common good. The Impulse Society is a compelling analysis of an unprecedented economic phenomenon and its psychological and social consequences.

Fiona Capp


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