Markets are amazing tools for provide us with what we want in an efficient way and for a low cost. However, while markets are great at providing us with what we want, they are not always the best at determining what we should want.
Our society often drives the consumption of both ideas and products by first inventing the supposed “needs and desires” which their ideology, service or product will fulfill. A person who feels complete, self-fulfilled and content in life is also a person who is less likely to buy what you are selling.
Any good marketer knows that the core thing that a person sells is a solution to another person’s problem. The success of the modern Western world can be contributed to their being free markets which provide financial incentives and rewards for those able to best provide solutions to other’s problems.
However, as time has gone on, and the average person’s basics fundamental needs (clothing, food, shelter, security) have increasingly been better met, marketers needed to create new demand by convincing people that they could not possibly live without purchasing the latest iPhone. People have been increasingly sold the idea that they are entitled to more and more things to the point that they now even believe that they are entitled to be ‘happy.’
This entitlement bubble is now starting to burst and people are freaking out about why they have not received what they feel that they have been promised. And in some cases, some even wounder why after getting all the things that they supposedly wanted, they are still not happy.
After taking out a hundred thousand dollars in student loans, why haven’t I been presented with my dream career upon graduation? After taking out a mortgage for the big house that I deserve, why am I now imprisoned in it by debt? Why after following all the advice presented by daytime talks shows am I still not in a fulfilling relationship?
In response to all these inquiries, people are being sold the easy solution of embracing a victim mentality. A victim mentality is a particularly attractive since it both frees a person from taking personal responsibility for originally being duped, as well as for presently taking action in anyway that could improve their current situation.
Instead of self-reflecting and working to find solutions, a person can simply declare that is must be the government’s fault, or the fault of immigrants, or that of all women or men in general. Yes, of course, its the fault of immigrants that you don’t have any skills deemed valuable in the modern economy. Can’t get a date? Then obviously all women must be the problem. God forbid if you even have to consider that part of the reason may have something to do with you.
There are undoubtedly countless situations where people are systemically victimized that we should work to end. However, we will not be able to take the proper actions to do this if we are paralyzed by our own victim mentalities. A real solution does not come by ostracizing others through the pointing of figures and assigning blame. Real progress is made not by commenting on the specks in the eyes of others, but when we remove the logs that are within our own.