Many things that were considered abhorrent within the past few decades are now considered normal. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:
What’s been normalized are policies and cultural norms that seek to enrich and protect the few at the expense of the many.
When the initially extraordinary fades into the unremarkable background of everyday life, we say it’s been normalized. Put another way, we quickly habituateto new conditions, and rationalize our ready acceptance of what was previously unacceptable.
Technology offers many examples of extraordinary advances quickly becoming normalized as we habituate to new devices and behaviors, but my focus today is on policies and cultural norms that were radical departures from accepted norms at their introduction but which are now accepted as “normal.”
This normalization of extreme policies conceals the often equally extreme unintended consequences of the new policies and norms.
Let’s start with two examples which have unleashed unintended consequences that have completely distorted markets: allowing pharmaceutical companies to advertise directly to “consumers” and allowing corporations to buy back their own shares. Each of these activities had been banned for self-evident reasons, yet were allowed in the neoliberal rush to deregulate industries without regard for the long-term consequences.