Capitalism and Nostalgia

The only way capitalism can survive is if we’re all consumers. We constantly have to buy new things so new things can be made and the system reproduces itself, spinning into a showboat auction of who can sell the most stuff. There are whole fields of study dedicated to making consumers purchase the most stuff, which is a somewhat frightening thought given all the consequences. One way to win that profit race to the top is to figure out what consumers want to buy, and the easiest way of doing that is ensuring them of what they want to buy.

For instance, have you noticed all the sequels and remakes that Hollywood has been pumping out? We’ve just gotten a whole slew of new Star Wars films, Disney is releasing all their old films but with live animation this time (Jungle Book, Lion King, Mulan, etc), kids sequels like Toy Story 4 or Frozen 2, the list could go on. It’s not just direct sequels either, symbols and themes from the past appear in supposedly original work. Take for instance the Netflix series Stranger Things, which although an original work plays heavily into 80’s nostalgia; same with the much of our pop music, in which I’ve noticed New Wave motifs being played into heavily.

I’ve heard the phrase that “Hollywood is running out of ideas” but that’s hardly satisfying. What the media manufacturers are doing is far more calculated and in fact quite intentional.Read More »