The Economics of Brainwashing

The Cracked Podcast #51 October 27, 2014

We all have addicts in our lives — that friend or relative who fell prey to alcohol, heroin or some other drug. Nobody pretends those aren’t “real” addictions. But when a D-list reality star checks in to rehab for porn addiction or a major study warns of smartphone addiction, we roll our eyes. If an obese person claims they’re addicted to eating, we tsk their lack of self-control.


Why isn’t every addiction created equal in the court of public opinion? Compulsive smartphone use doesn’t have the same consequences as smoking crack, but ‘Candy Crush’ still makes use of the same addictive feedback loop. Whether you’re gambling or eating Cheetos, you’re trading your time and money in exchange for regular hits of dopamine.


This week on the podcast, Cracked editors Jack O’Brien and Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) discuss the science and culture of addiction in the 21st century. They’ll look at all the ways giant corporations are exploiting our brains to control our behavior — and ask if there’s any way this addiction train can be stopped.

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