Progress and Glamour: Does Illusion Drive Economic Development?
Here's a video of a talk I gave at the Kauffman Foundation's annual bloggers conference.
You can see the other videos by scrolling down the page here.
I think the dynamic described in the talk, and in Colin Campbell's book, is a real one. But I don't believe that all consumption is disillusioning. Although any given artifact may, as Henry Petroski's work on innovation suggests, provide ideas for improvements, that doesn't mean we don't enjoy it. And, of course, some products actually provide even more enjoyment than expected, which may be one reason the iPad is selling so well.
Books I mention:
Colin Campbell's The Romantic Ethic And The Spirit Of Modern Consumerism>
Henry Petroski's The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are