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David T. Courtwright
University of North Florida (Jacksonville, FL 32224-7699)
The Age of Addiction: How Bad Habits Became Big Business

A history of the rise of abusive consumption and addiction in modern life and of the global economic systems that have enabled them.

I have contracted to write a trade book about the history of pleasure, vice, and addiction, a subject of general interest and large consequence. Humanists, especially historians, have published studies of particular pleasures, vices, and addictions. So have social scientists and neuroscientists seeking to understand the process of pathological learning. As yet no one has brought this work together to explain the development of a socially regressive global economic system through which multinational industries, often with the help of complicit governments and criminal organizations, have encouraged, manipulated, and multiplied the forms of abusive consumption and addiction. I call that system limbic capitalism. My book will trace limbic capitalism’s historical origins; identify who gained and who lost from its growth; and explain why modern states, despite a powerful international reform movement that arose more than a century ago, ultimately failed to check its influence.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Economic History; History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine; History, General

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2016 – 4/30/2017