The impact of Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook on our values

I read this article, “Amazon and Google are making us worse people” by David Priest and was incredibly shaken up by my agreement with the following:

But something else gets lost in the shuffle of this trick. Despite the common misconception that our values always direct our behavior, the opposite is often true. What we do, we come to value.

The problem with Amazon and Google and all the other tech giants restricting our choices goes beyond the material. These companies are actually training us — intentionally or not — for hours each day to act primarily on impulse, convenience and short-term economic self interest, even when our more deeply held values are at odds with that.

After all, high percentages of people value buying local products (it’s why I drove to two stores before ordering batteries from Amazon). We value privacy (which is why so many struggle to understand the subtle ways we’re losing it all the time). We valuechoice (which is why so many use ad-blockers and scroll past the promotional content on so many platforms).

But when we’re consistently confronted with the choice between convenience and inconvenience, a lower price tag and a higher one, it’s natural to respond to our immediate, material concerns. But each time we do that, we have to make a second choice: Do we care that we’re making decisions at odds with our values, or do we just refashion our values to align with our behavior?

Changing Attitudes by Changing Behavior

Although it might not have surprised you to hear that we can often predict people’s behaviors if we know their thoughts and their feelings about the attitude object, you might be surprised to find that our actions also have an influence on our thoughts and feelings.