Reklam och rational choice theory

Take a course in economics, they tell you a market is based on informed consumers making rational choices. Anyone who’s ever looked at a TV ad knows that’s not true. In fact if we had a market system an ad say for General Motors would be a brief statement of the characteristics of the products for next year. That’s not what you see. You see some movie actress or a football hero or somebody driving a car up a mountain or something like that. And that’s true of all advertising. The goal is to undermine markets by creating uninformed consumers who will make irrational choices and the business world spends huge efforts on that.

The same is true when the same industry, the PR industry, turns to undermining democracy. It wants to construct elections in which uninformed voters will make irrational choices. It’s pretty reasonable and it’s so evident you can hardly miss it.
It’s another one of those things that ought to be taught in elementary school. It’s kind of embarrassing to talk about something so obvious to a university audience.

Noam Chomsky


En annan Adam Smith

Vad som lärs ut om historiska författare eller tänkare blir alltid ett urval där enbart delar väljs ut utifrån hela deras arbeten. Det är då alltid intressant att se vad som förs vidare, vad det är som väljs ut och lyfts fram för att sen jämföra det med vad utelämnas. Ett tydligt sådant exempel är Adam Smith klassiska verk The Wealth of Nations, en bok vilken Noam Chomsky korrekt påpekar att många citerar men få faktiskt läst. Idag förklaras Smith som en förespråkare av fri marknad (se Chomsky länken för Smiths syn på marknader) och myntare av idén om den ”osynliga handen”, en idé han egentligt lånat och som redan användes av andra i hans samtid och hans, men ta en titt på citatet nedan för att få en annan bild av Smith som skiljer sig från den ständigt berättade.

“What are the common wages of labour, depends everywhere upon the contract usually made between those two parties, whose interests are by no means the same. The workmen desire to get as much, the masters to give as little as possible. The former are disposed to combine in order to raise, the latter in order to lower the wages of labour.
It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms. The masters, being fewer in number, can combine much more easily; and the law, besides, authorizes, or at least does not prohibit their combinations, while it prohibits those of the workmen. We have no acts of parliament against combining to lower the price of work; but many against combining to raise it. In all such disputes the masters can hold out much longer. A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer, a merchant, though they did not employ a single workman, could generally live a year or two upon the stocks which they have already acquired. Many workmen could not subsist a week, few could subsist a month, and scarce any a year without employment. In the long run the workman may be as necessary to his master as his master is to him; but the necessity is not so immediate.” (Smith 1776, Book 1, Chapter 8 “Of the Wages of Labour)

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