Huxley's Critique of Capitalism in 'Brave New World'

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In his novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley confronts the way in which mass production and capitalism serve to disempower the individual by cementing a self-reinforcing system of consumption and production wherein the individual is reduced to his or her utilitarian function. Although the novel touches on a number of ways in which the individual is disempowered and commodified in contemporary society, from pacifying drugs to an overreliance on technology, Huxley's critique of capitalism remains the most prominent, if only because the novel includes explicit references to the father of modern capitalist production, Henry Ford. Huxley's critique of capitalism becomes most apparent in the third chapter of the novel, when the tour group is taken over by Mustapha Mond, "his fordship" and the Resident Controller for Western Europe. Examining Mond's discussion of the time before the institution of the World State, Huxley's creative demonstration of capitalist reduction, and the function of the individual within capitalist society reveals the ways in which the novel seeks to highlight the dangers of unrestrained capitalist and the consumer culture is perpetuates. Before examining Huxley's critique of capitalism in detail, it will be useful to briefly discuss the concept of "planned obsolescence." In short, planned obsolescence means intentionally designing a product so that it will become obsolete within a determined period of time, such that the consumer will be forced to purchase

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