The Lie At The Heart Of Consumer Society

We know that consumer goods degrade, but the place they come from supposedly doesn’t
7 min readMay 17, 2023
Let them order Amazon (with creepy AI hands)

Consumer goods are always wearing down, becoming outdated, and need to be replaced. You constantly need to buy new clothes, new vehicles, new things. Consumer society, however, is presumed to be infinite. We can keep doing this forever, indeed, this society can keep growing. This is a lie.

The lie at the heart of consumer society is that all of this stuff comes out of nowhere and gets dumped nowhere. Don’t worry about it. The resources that make goods are infinite and the waste is off the books. That is to say, entropy applies to the individual, but not the system. But this is just physically impossible. You can run the experiment yourself. Just unbox something.

You can feel the relentless process of entropy when you open a package. An organized box becomes a mess of cardboard, foam, cables, and devices exploding across your room. Just compare the tree on Christmas Eve with the carnage of Christmas morning. It’s the definition of entropy. Things fall apart, hot goes cold, new becomes old. You have to buy again. Consumer goods are in fact engineered this way, even more than they have to be.



Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at