This week, we were instructed to watch Black Mirror Season 1 Episode 2, entitled “Fifteen Million Merits”. This episode depicted a world in which everyone was heavily reliant on technology/ virtual reality. Their form of currency is virtual and called “merits.” Every waking moment involved being monitored and controlled, so that they could earn or lose merits constantly. They had no choice but to watch advertisements that were being thrown at them, or else they’d get charged for it. What I found most interesting is that in an abstract way, this isn’t so different than the way capitalist societies function. Regardless of if capitalism should be considered positive or negative, there is no doubt that it is centered around the notion of profit over social responsibility. We see this in the Contra Points video when the idea of consumerism comes up. The video explains how people have the need to work just to acquire expensive, pointless, or showy items. It goes on to explain that capitalist systems are based on the over-indulgence of this type of behavior, using advertisement. In the Black Mirror episode, advertisements were crucial for the structure of society. In our society (American), we can draw the same conclusions. We are bombarded with ads and constantly being coerced to acquire things that are perhaps not so essential or as beneficial as we are made to believe.
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