Advertising is a natural resource extraction industry, like a fishery. Its business is the harvest and sale of human attention. We are the fish and we are not consulted.

Two problems result from this. The solution to both requires legal  recognition of the property rights of human beings over our attention.

First, advertising imposes costs on individuals without permission or  compensation. It extracts our precious attention and emits toxic  by-products, such as the sale of our personal information to dodgy third  parties.

Second, you may have noticed that the world's fisheries are not in  great shape. They are a standard example for explaining the theoretical  concept of a tragedy of the commons, where rational maximising behaviour by individual harvesters leads to the unsustainable overexploitation of a resource.

Expensively trained human attention is the fuel of twenty-first  century capitalism. We are allowing a single industry to slash and burn  vast amounts of this productive resource in search of a quick buck.