We work to invest meaning in goods to make our identities correspondingly meaningful, but that same effort disrupts the entire web of meaning across commodities, scrambling the identity we are hoping to convey. Each time we establish a new meaning for a good, we make the meaning of all goods a little more insecure, which necessitates further attempts to posit new meanings, and so on. As Lazzarato puts it, “It gives form to and materializes needs, the imaginary, consumer tastes, and so forth, and these products in turn become powerful producers of needs, images, and tastes.” In effect, we build our own consumerist hedonic treadmill, as our work “creates the ‘ideological’ and cultural environment of the consumer.” The more we “work on ourselves” the more we have to work on ourselves.
I would guess that this author is relatively young. I say that, because in my thirties, I found that 'cool' becomes replaced by 'conformity' or some form of identity politics. Young people want to showcase the posibilities that they represent, older people want to showcase the social stature that they have achieved. I don't think the treadmill is significantly different, however.
I have long posited that a future punk movement will revolve around off-the-grid identities. ATM, punk is dead.