Drawing on Heinz Kohut’s conception of narcissistic development, this chapter situates the phenomenon of defensive intransigence within contemporary economic life. The ‘avocado toast’ stereotype – in which millennials are poor because of one brunch too many – represents a disavowal of worsening intergenerational inequality that is symptomatic of the rage that occurs when sustained beliefs about oneself and one’s place in the world are threatened.
The notion of ‘clickbait’ speaks to the intersection of money, technology, and desire, suggesting a cunning ruse to profit from unsavoury inclinations of one kind or another. Clickbait capitalism pursues the idea that the entire contemporary economy is just such a ruse, an elaborate exercise in psychological capture and release. Pushing beyond rationalist accounts of economic life, this volume puts psychoanalysis and political economy into conversation with the cutting edges of capitalist development. Perennial questions of death, sex, aggression, enjoyment, despair, hope, and revenge are followed onto the terrain of the contemporary, with chapters devoted to social media, online dating apps, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and meme stocks. The result is a unique and compelling portrait of the latest institutions to stage, channel, or reconfigure the psychic energies of political and economic life.