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  1. #1

    Post Capitalism and Loneliness: Why Pornography Is a Multibillion-Dollar Industry

    Capitalism and Loneliness: Why Pornography is a Multibillion-Dollar Industry

    I take issue with some of the premises laid out in the article, but I thought it took a hefty stab at a complex issue. I think it came up short, but there was food for thought. --Some points I agree with. There are also links to interesting articles and statistical sites scattered throughout. The article quoted is broken up by segment behind the spoiler tag.



    If you don't bother reading the article (which I suggest), the author steers round to their view in a nutshell:
    We must now face the eerie trumping of profit over shared experience. Capitalism has polluted the experience of reciprocal connection in our very bedrooms and bodies. The failure of capitalism to provide sufficient jobs, possibilities for prosperity, decent wages and social services has led masses to grab at lonely pseudosolutions that ultimately worsen the quality of life. Pornography is one of them.
    Do you agree or disagree? Is there anything else in the article you have thoughts on?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To me it reads like a larger condemnation of capitalism and the pornography is an afterthought. I don't think pornography is strictly damaging. I think it can be. I think a lot of things can be if they're taken to extremes or used as a crutch. I think excellent points were made about pornography's new role in human sexuality, particularly for men, and its interference in intimate relationships, and ultimately the static it creates in the family househould because of its comorbidity with the shifting dynamic in the family unit.

    The author makes no mention, but I think the first major family unit shift (in western society) began during the Industrial Revolution when children became a part of the liquid labor force (i.e. working outside the family farm etc.), and again when technological demand sped up in the Second Industrial Revolution spurring the need to expand educational institutions, therefore lengthening adolescence and parental dependence (i.e. high schools, then colleges). The author only discusses the most recent shift that came about as a result of the feminist movement --women becoming a substantial part of the labor force.

    Personally, I have given a lot of thought to the kind of dynamic I want in my family, but I don't know what the future holds, or what will be best until the time comes. The household I'll raise my hypothetical children in will be different from the one I grew up in. It's difficult to imagine how different, but I try anyway. As for pornography, I don't have a problem with my s.o. viewing it, but if it appears to be negatively affecting our relationship at all --heavy discussion will take place.

    The future of pornography scares me more than the present reality. We have to expect that it's going to become more 3D and interactive than ever. If people thought it was addicting NOW, I shudder to think how much it could replace human intimacy in the future. It would be terribly ironic if droid sex became so pervasive that it ultimately undid the future of the human race with nary a nuclear warhead in sight.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  2. #2

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    This is an interesting and a big topic, I think perhaps bigger than capitalism because I believe that pornography definitely predates capitalism and could post-date it, when I say that there is no implication that a happy post-capitalism is inevitable, its possible but I think something less happy, perhaps capitalism in name objectively something else, could come into existence instead.

    I dont believe that capitalism is perrenial or universal or eternal but I do believe that status and class struggles have proven to be, pornography and its pervasiveness I think is to do with both capitalism and social struggles, especially since, while it IS a multi-million dollar business, is commercial and has commodified intimacy, it also carries on privately, in totally non-monetary exchanges on entirely different scales.

    A big factor in its development and spread appears to me to be fantasy, I dont just mean pornography but I also mean capitalism, both I think are essentially libidinal, appealing to, depending on and inducing less rational selves and thinking.

    A lot of what is popular within pornography isnt really sex any longer, properly so called, but myriad genres and cultures and scenes, this mirrors the ways in which capitalism and consumerism seem to, superficially at least, make it easier for people to individually or socially, in the small group, family, friends sense (the real sense), be themselves and adopt lifestyles or identities or adapt their surroundings and immediate environment to themselves.

    The degree to which fantasy, and vice, are feature of both porn and capitalism probably explain their triumph over all alternatives, they dont induce or demand much of a person, provided they have money, it reminds me of the scene from 300 when the deformed guy betrays the spartans to the persians and the narrator says that Leonidas had asked him to stand but all the Persians demanded he do was kneel.

    Two big things about this social trend which worry me are, one, that it generates norms and expectations, it has in many ways been integrated into secondary socialisation, for both males and females, while the attention has been on males, particularly younger males, and the consumer styles are different, I have, through work, known of as much female consumption and participation in production of the informal, non-commercial examples of porn.

    Some of those norms and expectations are pretty strange, there is a lot of objectification involved, a lot of superficial relationships which are not deeply felt and not a little emotional or psychological dissociation, splitting or delusions. Not just of others or feelings and affects associated with others but also associated with the self too.

    Besides those things, which may not be experienced by anyone who's pretty resilient, there's the equivalent of consumer disappointment, buyers regret and addiction/insatiable appetites. There's some good books on that topic, like The Age of Absurdity, it is in some ways a Camus/existential read but it deals with how consumerism and ideas about potential have influenced attitudes and appetites, including sexuality, which are pretty absurd.

    Those new norms and expectations, the likelihood of greater disatisfaction earlier in life, is just going to lead to more and more alienated people around.

    The second thing which worries me about this is that I can only see it becoming more pervasive as the means of production become more and more easily available to people, any age group etc. I think that capitalism has been amazing at maximising production, particular post-war welfare capitalism, which managed to overcome a lot of the problems, at least for the time being, with artificially repressed production and out put through lack of consumer demand (the availability of benefits creates stable demand in the economy) . However, in maximising production it needs new fields of production, it WILL make greater in roads into fantasy, dreams, hopes, desires, both savoury and unsavoury. Probably the unsavoury will sell better.

    While it does so it will remain more popular than any other alternative cultural or economic model, it will be unassailable politically, simultaneously appealing to, neutralising and managing the lowest witted and most beastial side of mans nature its appeal in a managerial society is like nothing else.

    Although I think there's also something about the role the camera has played in human history, I thought about this when I heard an interview with a band and they where talking about how they were blinded by the glare from cameras and phones at a gig, they were asking why people couldnt simply come a enjoy live music and why they needed to have everything recorded on film one way or another. It was almost as though the gig wasnt real until it had been recorded, watched over and presented to others to view too. That rendering of everyone and every experience to spectator status or spectating cant be good. Not only is it liable to be not very satisfying in itself but its bound to make people more passive, rather than active, interfer with the whole idea of agency and individual responsibility eventually.

    I would say that porn and capitalism both have been major driving forces in human history with positive, aswell as negative consequences, in some ways both are examples of a curious sort of alchemy, attempts to transform base behaviour into social gold, the whole Adam Smith "It is not from benefice" deal. Pornographers probably dont care about advances in freedom of expression, free media, individual conscience or technology, capitalists even less so I'd expect but nonetheless it has had those benefits. Although there is a chicken and egg thing about this, it relies on less virtuous motives to generate the externality/unintended consequence of "benefice" but does it also generate them?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    This article is a big non sequitur. It addresses some legitimate concerns, then lays all of the blame at the feet of capitalism. This problem is bigger than capitalism.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  4. #4
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    This article is a big non sequitur. It addresses some legitimate concerns, then lays all of the blame at the feet of capitalism. This problem is bigger than capitalism.
    Agreed. The capitalistic angle is definitely a factor, but it ties so closely into pretty much all cultural phenomena in Western society that it's hard to point the finger at it, specifically. If anything, I'd say pornography is more a symptom than a cause. Like the article mentions, it's got more to do with the breakdown of a community-based society than anything else. Especially when combined with mass (broadcast) media being so monolithic and prevalent. How many people spend more time focused on interacting with others socially than with TV/movies? I bet it's not many. And most media is notably shallow, in that it maximizes drama, success, beauty, wealth, and such properties as to warp the expectations of those who partake in it for entertainment -- which is most of us. Not to say that those are bad things -- in moderation. But in-home, on-demand TV/movies tend to make it an easy option beyond moderation, I think.

    Also a major factor, I think, is the notion that media (and to a lesser extent, technology, including the internet) fulfills a "close enough" representation of actual social contact for a lot of people. I know that I fall into this on a regular basis. Now I'm not a particularly social person. But on a day-to-day level, I get by just fine with the sort of distant, nth-removed interaction that's available on the internet -- email, forums, etc. But none of these are anywhere near as likely to result in meeting people I'm really going to share my life with as if I were instead doing social things with people, in person. Even if that were simply taking on a second job doing something casual, volunteering in a group-based activity, or hanging out with the neighbors. There are so many other options -- easier, less stressful options -- that I'm happy on a moment-to-moment basis without interacting a lot in person, especially with new people. But that doesn't lead to the sort of healthy social participation that people have been accustomed to over the long run historically. Pornography is just one outlet (perhaps manifestation) of such things. I've never been all that interested in pornography. But I do like (some) TV, movies, video games, etc. -- I used to spend *way* too much time playing Everquest. It was fun, and fulfilled a social need... but didn't provide a road to social fulfillment.

    Now I'm probably as close to an anti-capitalist as it gets in most places, and I'm pretty confident that the excesses and extremes of our society that have come about as a result of capitalism aren't a good thing. "Let them eat cake" sort of sums up my feelings on the matter. But I can see the sort of loneliness-driving circumstances discussed in the article happening in other systems -- not as likely, perhaps, but certainly possible.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #5
    Whisky Old & Women Young Speed Gavroche's Avatar
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    People masturbates as much in socialist countries than in capitalist countries. Possibly even more. Married men masturbate and often don't fuck too much with their legitime wife, wether they live in socialist or capitalist societies. Most part of men who consume pornography are not lonely, they are in relationships and have at least one sexual partner or regulars sexual relationships.

    Pornography is a multi billion dollar industry because men like to masturbate and to buy stuff. That has nothing to do with loneliness or capitalism. Stop intelectual masturbation.
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  6. #6

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    But hasnt capitalism got something to do with the dissolution of bonds and community ties?

    The industrial revolution made everyone into individual producers or workers and markets make everyone into individual consumers or salespersons.

  7. #7
    Whisky Old & Women Young Speed Gavroche's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    But hasnt capitalism got something to do with the dissolution of bonds and community ties?
    No, it's easyer to form bonds when you have wealth, have a job and there's not a
    people's commisar who tells you what to do. So, capitalism is a good thing, socialism is problematic to truly form bonds.

    The industrial revolution made everyone into individual producers or workers and markets make everyone into individual consumers or salespersons.
    Capitalism has never supressed the ability for human being to love, form bonds or have feeling. If they are producers or consumers, it's only by choice. And there's far more space for romantic relationships in modern capitalist societies than in traditionals pre-capitalist societies.

    By the way, you are consumer-producer insocialist societies too.
    EsTP 6w7 Sx/Sp

    Chaotic Neutral

    E=60% S=55% T=70% P=80%

    "I don't believe in guilt, I only believe in living on impulses"

    "Stereotypes about personality and gender turn out to be fairly accurate: ... On the binary Myers-Briggs measure, the thinking-feeling breakdown is about 30/70 for women versus 60/40 for men." ~ Bryan Caplan

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Speed Gavroche View Post
    No, it's easyer to form bonds when you have wealth, have a job and there's not a
    people's commisar who tells you what to do. So, capitalism is a good thing, socialism is problematic to truly form bonds.



    Capitalism has never supressed the ability for human being to love, form bonds or have feeling. If they are producers or consumers, it's only by choice. And there's far more space for romantic relationships in modern capitalist societies than in traditionals pre-capitalist societies.

    By the way, you are consumer-producer insocialist societies too.
    ^All of which is wrong.

  9. #9
    Whisky Old & Women Young Speed Gavroche's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    ^All of which is wrong.
    Prove it if you don't want to be laughable.
    EsTP 6w7 Sx/Sp

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    "I don't believe in guilt, I only believe in living on impulses"

    "Stereotypes about personality and gender turn out to be fairly accurate: ... On the binary Myers-Briggs measure, the thinking-feeling breakdown is about 30/70 for women versus 60/40 for men." ~ Bryan Caplan

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Speed Gavroche View Post
    Prove it if you don't want to be laughable.
    What can I say, you're as much in need of some reading and facts as you always where and its very evident from what you've written there, now you have succeeded in trolling me before on topics like this one, I'm not going to fall into that trap again. Its not lost on me that you singled me out and also the speed with which you responded and the same of klap trap that you responded with.

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