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Emotional Capitalism: What It Is And How It Influences Nowadays Society

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By Donna James

Capitalism is a kind of an economic system where the government plays a secondary role. In capitalism, private companies and people make most decisions and own most properties. This means that the production sector is mostly privately-owned and it is operated by people to make a profit.

This type of societal organization has made people more rational, to base their decisions on facts and statistics. And while this can be beneficial in some situations, most of the time it is not the best decision you could take. Capitalism is just one way to make people lonelier, just because some feel encouraged to neglect their emotions and base their decisions on rationality. 

After World War II, people have begun to understand that psychology offers valuable insights into our minds. People began to be more open to understanding their feelings and emotions. They began to understand that rationality is good and irrationality is not bad. Taking into account your feelings and emotions when you make some decisions is not bad at all. And this is how emotional capitalism was born. 

But How Would You Define Emotional Capitalism?

Experts from twiftnews advise on looking at the book of Eva Illouz. She was among the firsts to admit the existence of emotional capitalism and to try to define it. She says that as society has developed, capitalism has fostered emotional work relationships.

It seems that the economic relationships that are characteristic of capitalism are now characterized by deep emotions too. On the other hand, our private life and relationships are now described by a more economic approach. People tend to see their private relationships in terms of bargaining, equity, and exchange. 

Emotional capitalism is represented by a dual process of economics and emotions that shape and define who we are. In recent years, people have begun to expose more and more of their vulnerabilities. And they have become more interested in studying emotions, where they come from, how you can use them to your advantage or how to measure them. 

More and more institutions and companies have become interested in measuring productivity and team cohesion. New methods of improving employee productivity have been invented. For example, emotional intelligence is a concept that was defined by Daniel Goleman and that has its momentum in society. It is a way of describing the ability to be open to and understand others’ emotions. It is a way of using and managing your emotions to relieve stress, overcome obstacles and face challenges. 

But emotional capitalism was also a way to shed a light on suffering, which is a big part of our societies. The way society thinks about human suffering was the base of capitalism and designing products and services. We want to avoid suffering at any cost and this was the commitment that helped people build better societies. But suffering comes in many forms and Eva Illouz noticed that principles of emotional capitalism are present in self-help literature, support groups or magazines. 

But is It a Good or a Bad Thing?

Well, I think that emotional capitalism is a good thing, although it sometimes can have more cons than pros. Emotional capitalism encourages you to think and make rational decisions, while also paying attention to your emotions. More and more people want to make a clear distinction between their private and professional lives because they are so deeply intertwined. We brought the rationality from work and applied it to our private relationships, while the emotional part was applied to work. 

Emotional capitalism sheds a light on the way society works, how we work, how we relate to each other and how we take care of our relationships and private life. It makes people aware that small gestures make the difference and that simple words of praise can motivate people to accomplish their tasks. 

But it also sheds a light on the way that people define their emotional experiences nowadays. Even though most of us would like to have a positive approach to life, people define their identity in terms of psychic suffering. This has become a popular approach.

But why? It may be because these are the years when technology advances rapidly. New gadgets and services are developed every day and society make you think that the latest phone model is what you need. It makes you think that posting photos on social media and waiting for endorsements from friends is what you need to be happy with. 

All these technological developments come with pros and cons. And while most of them make our life easier, they have a dark side too. They slowly create a feeling of alienation, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Simply put, psychic suffering. A few years ago, the peak of depression was around 27 years old. This means that if you had certain environmental and psychological factors that could contribute to depression, it mostly appeared around 27 years old. Recent research shows that the peak of depression is now at 17 years old. More and more teenagers have become more anxious and depressed, and have panic attacks.

Even if it may be hard to recognize and admit, emotional capitalism comes with pros and cons. It is good because it draws attention to emotions and how they help us cope with everyday challenges. They can be both positive and negative, but it is their frequency and intensity that matters. This caused a massive rise in self-help books and magazines, support groups and talk shows. Which, at a conceptual level, is helpful for people that suffer and find support, understanding, and compassion. And this helps them cope with difficult situations.

But it also has negative consequences. The development of services is supported by private companies. They ease our life, but at what cost? They make people lonelier, alienated and lacking social support. And loneliness, depression and other mental problems can be fatal in some cases. The rise of bullying and cyberbullying was incredible in the last years.

Children and teenagers become more aggressive and less understanding with their peers. The rates of suicide among adolescents are continuously rising. And this because we see our relationships from the prism of bargain and exchange. And this marks the loss of self-compassion and empathy. This is what suffering is, what society and people want to avoid but go right to it. 

So, in conclusion, I would say that emotional capitalism has both pros and cons. It is good that people begin to consider their emotions more when making rational decisions. But it also comes with loneliness and alienation. 

Donna James

Donna James


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