Money was invented to facilitate the exchange of goods and services but then it became of a symbol and measure of status and power in society. What was a means for trade and exchange of commodities became a way for humans to gain higher status in their social networks. Just like in animals the males fight and show off their physical features to gain status in group, humans had to somehow show off their money/wealth to move up the social latter. Hence, early human societies went from economies based on trade of commodities and services to economies focused on consumers exchanging money not just for necessities but also to gain and maintain status symbols. Societies and social networks were small so one didn't need much wealth or status symbols to achieve higher status. The focus on consumerism and the self of course had many benefits for the economy and accordingly became a advertising target for major corporations. An old evolutionary need of having higher status to maximize survival and mating opportunities became a window for corporations to sell their products and so called "status symbols". This phenomenon has continued for centuries and depressed and caused anxiety for many people trying to climb up the status latter but we ain't seen nothing yet. Social networks and groups that consisted of groups of a few friends and family members, now, thanks to the internet and online social networking sites have been expanded to the entire world. Thanks to Facebook we now know what hundreds of our new and old friends are doing, purchasing, wearing and how they are moving up the social status ladder. Corporations, unconsciously have forced us to not just buy their products to enhance our status among close friends but to compare ourselves to hundreds of people on our online social networks and spend and purchase nonstop to reach an unreachable status.
A brain produced by evolution to survive in the jungle is going crazy trying to navigate the modern society and economy.