The business of addiction

Compulsive gaming, shopping, binge eating... This is how big business is turning our bad habits into addictions.

Limbic capitalism

Is capitalism turning us into addicts? According to historian and addiction expert David T. Courtwright, "limbic capitalism" – which refers to the part of the brain that deals with pleasure and motivation – cultivates our addictive behavior and bad habits for profit. Big Business has hijacked our limbic system, according to Courtwright. And with the explosion of technological innovation, addictions have greatly expanded.

Capitalism's evil twin

“When people talked about addiction, they talked about alcohol and heroin and maybe tobacco. But now people talk about addiction to social media, to tanning salons to gambling to shopping. The whole concept of addiction has expanded greatly. And that's really what I wanted to explore is how do we get to this situation where more and more things are at least potentially addictive? Limbic capitalism is basically capitalism's evil twin. It's not capitalism per se. Now, admittedly, there are a lot of things that can go wrong with capitalism. There is an extra set of special problems around addiction that characterize limbic capitalism. The really insidious thing about digital addictions is that the internet is now an opt-out technology. You have to make a conscious decision to opt out and be different and isolate yourself. In the mid 20th century, cigarette smoking was actually an opt-out technology. If you were a young person, you were considered weird if you didn't smoke. It was normal to smoke if you wanted to”, David Courtwright tells Brut.

Youth targeted

The average smartphone user touches their phone 2617 times a day based on data from Dscout. Various of ppl touching their phones and we spend an average of 5 years and 4 months of our lifetimes on social media according Mediakix. Youth are the primary target of limbic capitalism. With 50% of teens admitting to feeling addicted to their smartphone – phone addiction might be the new smoking according to information in line with Common Sense Media.


12/28/2019 6:00 PM
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  • Logan T.
    3 days

    Capitalism is not to blame....what is to blame is people's own lack of self control and that goes for anything you can stop if you really want to but nobody's ready for that conversation

  • Hayden P.
    4 days

    Being able to get what you need at anytime...Is better than having to beg for what you need everytime Capitalism vs socialism

  • Blake O.
    4 days

    Would you rather be a slave?

  • David O.
    4 days

    Isn't Brut a cologne? Tf did I miss here

  • Zay P.
    01/14/2020 17:25

    This is too negative for me. Smh lol

  • Victor F.
    01/14/2020 15:01

    Capitalism is flawed

  • Austin B.
    01/13/2020 18:22

    Anything and everything that brings a person the feeling of Happiness can be addicting if you were born into a wealthy or house home and are used to eating good food having good appliances and comfortable living you get used to it once you move out and you're on your own and have to work with less you'll be upset about it you could count that as an addictive lifestyle

  • Zach J.
    01/13/2020 07:48

    Yeah let’s eliminate the free market and all eat government issued bread, cheese, and potatoes for the rest of our lives. Soylent Green is the American dream! Ignorance is freedom!

  • Eden M.
    01/13/2020 04:25

    Capitalism isn’t the issue, it’s democracy. Britain has a democracy.... why is America going along with this hierarchy?!?

  • Adam S.
    01/12/2020 16:57

    Capitalism creates a purchasing addiction. Socialism created a drug addiction. Can someone tell me one Democrat run major city that doesnt have a drug issue?

  • Timothy L.
    01/12/2020 07:32

    This is just computers. Not just Capitalism.

  • Ben K.
    01/12/2020 00:15

    This is fake and gay

  • Josh H.
    01/11/2020 19:51

    He’s talking about us being addicted to our phones while most of us watch this video on our phones lol

  • Tommy O.
    01/11/2020 18:45

    Firstly, I believe capitalism is the best economic system for us to operate under. That said, he makes some great points in this video. It's undeniable that digitialization has in fact given us greater access to, and even added addictive technology. I don't think that it's enough to outweigh the overall benefits of capitalism as opposed to other economic systems, though. Overall, great points, but we should remember that every economic system has its pros and cons, and so far history has proven capitalism, at a macro level, to be least harmful to it's societies.

  • Nasir A.
    01/09/2020 20:04

    Nah people of today understands life more than those decades before us and it's more people here meaning more people understand lifes full of bs so they go chasing after the next best thing to keep them entertained

  • Johnathan W.
    01/09/2020 12:26

    This anti-corporate message has been brought to you by Brut. That one brand no one has used since the mid 90s.

  • Zoilo L.
    01/08/2020 03:20

    Watching this video made me realize how much time I wasted on my cell phone watching it, when I could've been doing something else. I'm also writing this post thinking how addicted I am to my phone..Stahpp..

  • Jake J.
    01/08/2020 01:41

    Everything can be/ is addictive. Ppl will do what they want its just how it is.

  • Liam P.
    01/07/2020 15:05

    I don't see how capitalism is to blame? No one forced you by point of gun to by the product that u got addicted to, thats whats great in a free market, 9/10 (with the exception of mental illness and disabilities) if u screw up. It was probably your fault

  • Nathan J.
    01/07/2020 03:56

    You all are stupid to Blame a governing system for people’s bad behavior. Because of Capitalism, we have many choices in what to eat, what you wear, what you see on the internet, etc. if you want to be told what to do every day, if you don’t want to make your one choices in life, go live in China.