Let me start by boiling this idea down to a couple of phrases that I've heard online. The first is one you've probably seen around here a few times; the idea of "Enshitification"- which i think...
Let me start by boiling this idea down to a couple of phrases that I've heard online. The first is one you've probably seen around here a few times; the idea of "Enshitification"- which i think basically boils down to "paying more and getting less". I know there's a better definition of it out there, but this is what it means to me: because of inflation and greed in general, things that used to be free or low-cost are not only becoming pricey, but their quality is degrading too.
Which brings me to the next point: between subscription services that basically say "you don't actually own this; you're just renting it", and otherwise being unable to afford things, in... other places... online, some were saying "Oh, at this rate, the new slogan will be 'You'll own nothing and be happy about it!'"
Also, I'd better bring in some context for the next part: I was able to leave the US, and am currently living in Asia. Which means I'm coming into more contact with various East Asian philosophies. And as I examine these philosophies, I have to ask "Is owning less ACTUALLY a bad idea?"
Now, I realize that in many ways this turns into an Eastern vs. Western philosophy argument. For starters, the idea of "individualism" and "you have your own stuff" is very central to Western ideology in the first place- to brush on a tangent with political ideology, I think part of the reason why words like "Communism" and "socialism" cause such a freak-out is because they bring up this idea of "Wait, I have to SHARE something? No, it's MINE!" (plus the extreme example of sharing toothbrushes is always used, and I think everyone can admit that's just gross and disgusting... but I digress). In fact, some of you may remember the phenomenon that came out several years ago with Marie Kondo and minimalism- an idea that in her home country of Japan is very commonplace, but in other places like the US was a totally foreign concept. I expect some very major geographical differences also played a part in why this mindset was received very differently in the two countries. To be more specific: Japan is a small island country (especially when compared to the US), so the Japanese have to be VERY mindful of space; whereas America has TONS of space, so people keep buying crap to fill said space.
Anyways, this brings me to my next point: there was a survey done within the last year or so about what places were the happiest. I don't remember exactly which country ranked the highest, but I do remember it was a Scandinavian country. But more to the point, the reason why they were so happy basically boiled down to "We don't have a ton of stuff, but we're very happy with what we DO have." When I read that, my immediate reaction was "Well, no wonder places like the US are miserable- we're always being pushed to Buy More Crap, with a good dose of FOMO mixed in."
Now, let me fully confess something: even though I'm talking about maybe having too many material possessions is what makes us miserable... well, some of my biggest hobbies involve collecting things. For the one most relatable to Tildes, I have TONS of videos games for a variety of systems that are on my "I'm EVENTUALLY going to play and beat that game". Other hobbies of mine involve new things being available to buy, with many people saying "This is a MUST-HAVE!". The good news is that at least recently, I'm not buying some much of this kind of item.
So... all this idea to say that people are becoming more miserable and depressed. There's no doubt a variety of factors are involved, but it seems to me that if we bought less crap, some things would start changing (and a few things possibly breaking), and maybe we'd be a bit happier. Of course, this completely goes against the Consumerism idea that is heavily pushed in America, but maybe that's a GOOD thing.