The first response that comes to mind is “Anyone who consumes things.” But this is clearly inadequate – people have been consuming things forever, but the Consumer is an artifact of Television.
TV viewers were mesmerized into buying things, or more importantly – thinking things. They had been turned into Consumers – robots under the control of the Tube. The TV industry had taken control of their minds.
When the Computer came along a few years later – it took advantage of the mental vacuum created by Television. Its networks (the Internet and the Wireless) became another way of controlling Consumers. And no one thought this was unusual or even undesirable.
Consumers are people under the unconscious control of global business. They are incapable of questioning (or even recognizing) its dominance in their lives.
I have named the villain – Global Business, or Business, for short. Globalization. It doesn’t have complete control of the world, but something close to it. If anyone or any group serves it – it cannot go far wrong. It controls our money and our jobs.
You might ask about Islamic fundamentalists – are these guys part of Global Business? In a strange way, they are. By their opposition to it they are helping to define it. They are the loyal opposition – completely dependent on it for their fuel, weapons, and communication. There is no way they can exist independently of it.
You may think “That’s only crazy Hal and his crazy ideas!” But if you think my ideas are crazy, look at these: