In my day, the problem with capitalism was the soul-destroying conformity it created. Now its problem is that it creates soul-destroying individualism. It seems we are hard to please. Ann Althouse has been on this topic the last few days. It will shock you to learn that she is pro-individualism.
In the ancient days of the 1950s-80s Corporate America turned out indistinguishable automatons, company men who had to dress alike and parrot the approved line. They had Donna Reed wives and 2.3 children, and all the cool kids shuddered because they didn't want to be like that, so they all wore blue jeans and let their hair grow. Myself included. The schools were no better, we were told, only there to produce obedient slaves who would become part of The Machine.
It was ludicrous, of course. By the time Pink Floyd came out with this teachers in the UK had been celebrating the rebellion against the old guard for more than a decade. But Waters and the boys soldiered bravely on anyway, fighting a culture war already won. No one was going to make them conform. In the US, the remarkable innovations in industry and the enormous restless migration about the country, remaking the nation also counted for naught. They were horrible suburban conformists, all of them.
So, people remain unhappy and they are still just sure that capitalism is the cause. If it can't be conformity that is the problem, it must therefore be individualism. It couldn't possibly be their own decisions, it must be the decisions of those in The System, against which they and all right-thinking folks are nearly helpless, except held at bay by constant vigilance. I admit I am not sure what they mean by "individualism." Perhaps they are unsure themselves. It may just be a word to conjure with, stripped of denotative meaning while retaining all connotation.
There is no System. There are forces. Until that thought is clear in your mind, you will change nothing except by accident. This evil old society doesn't value the right people as it should, Ms. Tolentino thinks. Yes, many people have said so before, as long as I can remember. It used to be that America was terrible because we didn't value cancer researchers but paid professional athletes instead. These days the professional athletes are valued as spokespeople for woke causes, while cancer researchers work for Big Pharma, so that is reversed.
Allow me to explain this to you. There is a thread that runs through all these contradictions, across the generations. Those complaining think the wrong people have made money and have prestige. The wrong sort of people. Those bad people wear the wrong clothes, have the wrong hair, work for the wrong industries, and it's all just so unfair. They want this for themselves and their friends instead. Then all will be right with the world. "We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitses! Wicked, tricksy, false!"