- Offers artificial value: We consume useless stuff en masse. Do you have items in boxes or cupboards that you've forgot about? How full is your attic, garage, basement and/or storage locker? How much did you get out of from what you read, watched, heard and did yesterday? Your answers are an indication of how much artificial value you've been consuming. Artificial value is forgettable. It lacks depth, significance and and relatedness. It gets compared to junk food because it's lacking in its version of nutritional value and substance.
- Thrives on artificial scarcities: "Only two left in stock". "On sale through Tuesday". "Available for a limited time only". Fueling a buying frenzy keeps the rabid consumers from questioning whether the value is real to them. The artificial shortage of supply raises the price the market will bear and the quantity being demanded. Shopping becomes an act of desperation that ends up with buyer remorse.
- Makes artificial progress: We make bogus progress when we push against something that pushes back. We can kid ourselves where getting ahead while we push a rubber band or pendulum to it's limit. We become deluded by our obvious advancement when we're actually making a problem worse, fueling an effort that will backfire and getting hooked by a vicious cycle. No amount of time and money spent will reverse the futility of our efforts. We started from a false premise that pushing will work for us and end up with the results of "what we resist persists".
- Sustains artificial growth: Our individual and collective wealth grows artificially when we "cast off negative externalities" We rob Peter to pay Paul and kill the goose that kills the golden egg. We borrow from the future to fund our present excesses. We postpone our meeting with destiny over the dumping, depleting or poisoning we've done without regard to the long term and big picture. We kid ourselves that we're getting away with murder as if systemic justice will never come along.
- Requires artificial stimulants: This juggernaut cannot be financed on retained earnings. It needs more than "pay as you go" and "live within your means" to survive. It requires artificial stimulants called debt, credit, liquidity, leverage, borrowing, financing, investor capital or advances. It's in a big hurry to over spend because its time is short, its fate is doomed and it's overdoing everything imaginable before it tanks.
- Creates artificial prosperity: An artificial economy appears very healthy when the poor get poorer, the middle class shrinks and the gap between rich and poor widens. The prosperity appear elitist and aristocratic to those whose rights have been violated. The society weakens and social capital erodes. Goodwill turns to apathy, envy and revenge. Everyone watches their back and guards against solicitations for cooperation. Smiles seem fake and pleasantries feel artificial.
- Protects artificial barriers: The commons gets chopped up into contrived turfs and territories. Market spaces get bounded by barriers to entry. Walled gardens become protection rackets with goons to guard the gates. Property rights become abusive to human rights. Monopoly protections take precedence over protecting the environment, community and local economy. The privileges of shareholders dictate what must be endured by stakeholders. The advantages of the few become a burden to the many.
These artifices won't be around much longer. Our challenge is not to get rid of them or hasten their demise. We simply need to get off of them before they take us down with their false premises and toxic effects.