05 July 2013

Day 238: Advertisement vs Rational Informed Decision-Making

One of the premises of the argument for Capitalism as the most Effective means of distributing goods and resources is that consumers make rational and informed decisions. In such a system, every person's purchasing decision is a vote that is cast - where, the amount of purchases shows what the demand is for a certain product. Spending patterns then are supposed to show what people want and expect to be supplied with. Herein, the logic goes that between two products of the same price but of different quality - consumers will buy the better-quality product and in so-doing, will signal to the market that inferior quality goods are not wanted, according to which the supply then is supposed to adjust.

As such - the economy is supposed to be demand driven - where it is the consumers who vote on what should be done with the resources the Earth provides.

HOWEVER - we have developed a very lucrative business - which is the marketing industry, for which tons of research has been done - actual scientific research - to determine how to convince and persuade people that they want or need something that they actually don't. The advertising factor has reversed the production-relationship from demand-determined to supply-determined. For instance - I don't have cable, so I never watch advertisement. When I buy products, I have to actually test the product and from experience, determine whether the product is effective or not and accordingly, I adjust my spending patterns - so that I spend money on that which is actually supportive and worthwhile. Yesterday I was sitting in a waiting area and there was a TV playing. I saw a bunch of commercials, one of which was about a product that I myself had tested. The product was an 'instant soup' powder and the entire focus of the propaganda was to make the viewer believe that there are actual, real ingredients in this power - as in real vegetables, real meat and what have you. And - if I had been sitting at home, watching this commercial over and over - I have to sadly say that I may have been swayed by the information presented, and that I would have bought the product in the perception that 'there is real food in this powder - it said so on TV'. However, I happened to have tested this product before seeing this commercial and my experience showed that my body reacted adversely to it - in a way that it doesn't react to 'real soup'. Herein showing - that: No - this powder is not equivalent to 'real food'.

See - what advertisement does is brainwash viewers to such an extent that the memory of the picture of the commercial that has been seen over and over - overrides one's own actual physical experience - even to the extent that we don't even pay attention to the actual physical experience - because our memory is already 'telling us' what we are supposed to be believing about the product. Advertisement shapes our opinion of a product to the point where we can't distinguish between what's real and what's make-belief.

Herein - obviously - there is no rational decision-making. I could clearly see that if I were to be exposed to advertisement over and over - I may actually be influenced by it when I go through the shops - even if it is just because of familiarity - feeling like I 'know' this product - just because I've been exposed to the brand-name and logo over and over.

And so - advertisement is the way in which consumers have been robbed of their vote. It doesn't matter whether there is an actual demand for a product. Random products that have no life-supporting value and that have the lifespan of a few weeks, are continuously being produced - and it doesn't matter if there was no market for it - because the demand will simply be CREATED through advertisement. So - what we see today is an economy that is run by suppliers, profit-makers and NOT by consumers. Resources are wasted on the production of crap and consumers by the crap because they are too brainwashed to know better.

As such - we don't live in a capitalistic system in the true sense of the words, and any argument raised raised in the context of capitalistic theory is a scam - because we are not adhering to one of the basic principle of capitalism - which is that every individual needs to have the ability to make rational and informed decisions. As such - this ability requires to be protected if we want to truly live in a system that is sustainable and allocates resources most effectively.

Herein - I would suggest to either abolish advertising entirely - so that consumers are obliged to actually test the product for themselves, and based on real physical observation and experience, can influence the production-side of the market through changing spending patterns - OR - that advertisement becomes purely informative - listing the facts in terms of ingredients/materials utilized and the basic purpose of the product. No smiling people, no bright and colorful sparks, no music, no symbolism, no lies.

This would go a long way in preventing the wastage of resources that would now no longer be able to be used in the production of products that no-one actually wants or needs, relieving much of the pressure we have placed on our environment. Furthermore - together with the implementation of a Living Income Guaranteed - individuals will gain back their freedom - equipped with both money and rational decision-making - individuals will truly be empowered in the ability to determine what is valuable and what is not - and as such, capitalism can in fact be used to enhance and enforce democratic principles through economic means.

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