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Capitalism’s Addiction Problem

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Capitalism’s Addiction Problem

The biggest, best-known companies in the digital economy are getting their users hooked on their products — and undermining the pillars of America’s market economy.

The Atlantic,

5 min read
3 take-aways
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What's inside?

Capitalism is under attack – all because you can’t stop looking at your smartphone. 

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Many people are beginning to feel that their reliance on digital devices and platforms for communication, shopping and entertainment verges on addiction. And that could weaken the very foundations of capitalism, policy expert Maya MacGuineas points out in this elucidating article. She explores how individuals’ online compulsions subvert their reasoning, leaving them vulnerable to manipulation. MacGuineas’s text should serve as a wake-up call for policy makers, tech industry leaders and smartphone addicts everywhere. 


People’s reliance on digital technologies threatens capitalism. 

In the United States, people use their digital devices for all sorts of activities, like browsing social media, playing games and making purchases. On average, an individual “taps, types, swipes and clicks on his smartphone 2,617 times a day.” More and more Americans are finding it hard to function without these technologies, often to users’ detriment.

According to economics textbooks, free markets benefit the common good by effectively apportioning resources. For that efficient allocation to happen, though, all market participants – ...

About the Author

Maya MacGuineas is president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan think tank.

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