Are consumers supreme?

I was pondering over the way a market tries to get players hooked on things. Obviously it’s great for people to like your product, to keep using it and even getting others to use it. It’s great if it generates recurring revenue for you. And it’s important that the products don’t last too long, so that you will spend more money on it. It might mean more innovation that is real and good, but it can also be just superficial innovation that adds on unnecessary bells and whistles.

And of course, I was wondering whether such addiction can still be considered a consumer preference. Does it mean people really want to spend all their time doom-scrolling through instagram just because they do it? Just because people are manipulated psychologically to take certain actions does not necessarily mean they are just acting out of their preferences. Yes people have choices and this is not a debate about free will. My concern is more whether the market is here to serve consumers or if consumers are here to serve the market.

Because we are training generation after generations of consumers. People who would aspire new things, who wants to spend more to relieve their stress. People who buys new toys to pamper and reward themselves after working so hard, only to realise they have to work harder to pay for the stuff they bought themselves. Now if people have pretty weird preferences and the market serves them, that is fine unless in the course of it, others get harmed. But when the market has a role in shaping preferences, that preferences are actually endogenous in the market, then it makes sense to question what do we really want our markets to do, and to set the rules of the market in a way that honours our intention and the objective.

We don’t want markets to take a life of their own and starts sticking their ugly heads everywhere.