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Don't Fight Your Addiction; Bet on It

Updated from 8:36 p.m. EDT

When you are addicted to something, whether it's a substance, an activity or a person, it seems as if nothing can replace the object of your addiction. You go to sleep at night thinking about it. You wake up in the morning thinking about it. If you don't have it for a day, it feels as if the whole world can fall apart.

Many daytraders are addicted to the adrenalin they get when they place a trade. Being a workaholic is a very serious addiction that makes you feel as if you are only functioning normally if you are in the middle of a heavy and stressful work-related schedule.

Addiction is not curable. Most people reading this column are addicts of some sort, and it's a painful way to go through life. The safest way to end an addiction is with a "methadone": replacing one addiction with another, hopefully more mild, form of the original addiction.

For better or worse, capitalism is a philosophy of addiction. We want oil and can't do without it. We want Hannah Montana or Crocs (CROX) shoes or McDonald's (MCD). We want a latte every morning from Starbux (SBUX) and a fresh pack of Malboro' cigarettes (Altria (MO)) as soon as the old one runs out.

Companies are set up to deliver us our addictions and make it as easy as possible to satisfy our desires. The time it takes for McDonald's to sell its second trillion hamburgers will certainly be less than the time it takes to sell its first trillion hamburgers. Occasionally, government interference tries to curb our addictive behavior (no TV advertising for cigarettes, for instance), but it's a raft going up against a tidal wave.

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