The Humble Inventor

Keep this in mind as you watch the charades over net neutrality:

Of course, public mention of the existence of successful public enterprise is verboten in this market totalitarian society. So, even the rebels restrain themselves from it, as they fawn over feeble, 11th-hour less-than-half measures.

PBS Retaliates

blackmail-note The threat of losing sponsors is one of the major factors that make the corporate capitalist media system so effective at its core task of molding behavior on behalf of the overclass.

PBS, in its continuing journey toward complete irrelevance, is apparently now deploying this weapon against its own critics, despite the timidity of the latter.

Exhibit G

chomsky TCT readers are aware of the Herman/Chomsky “propaganda model” theory of corporate capitalist media operation.  As such, they are also aware of the special importance of parallel cases for testing said explanation.

Consider then, this, the announcement that neo-fascist media star Glenn Beck will be one of the featured speakers this year at Advertising Age‘s Media Evolved Conference.  The topic of this yearly professional soiree for marketing operatives is “smarter approaches to traditional media buying, the ways social media can enhance consumer engagement with content including TV, brands’ increasing opportunities to create their own media, and how to best use the proliferating platforms, channels and outlets.”

glenn_beckI mention this fact because Beck’s appearance at Media Evolved is far weightier evidence of the accuracy of the propaganda model than almost anything that can be gleaned from observation of broadcasts/content.  It is one thing for Beck to be featured as a provider of media content.  It is quite another, and far deeper, thing for him to be invited into the media planning stage.

Can you imagine the overclass shitstorm that would occur if Noam Chomsky or even David Barsamian or Amy Goodman were invited to discuss how the media are planned and run, rather than just what they broadcast?  It is literally unimaginable, of course, that such would ever happen, precisely because of the certainty and intensity of the ensuing shitstorm.

In terms of evidence for judging the Herman and Chomsky model, the reality that Glenn Beck is an invitee to the most boilerplate and big-time of media planning events trumps just about anything you could think of from the media-output side of the story.  Advertising Age is a 100 percent venerable, mainstream corporate capitalist enterprise, and remains a standard tool of the Fortune 500 boardroom.  Its Media Evolved Conference co-sponsors include McCann Worldwide, the world’s largest advertising agency group, and a host of other major corporate marketing-servicers.  Beck’s Media Evolved co-speakers are field marshals and top spies from a phalanx of big business pace-setters.  Would any of these operations or personages risk their access to corporate cash by associating themselves with Chomsky, Barsamian, or Goodman?  Not a chance.  But Glenn Beck?  He causes not a ripple.  QED.

Meanwhile, for those interested in media studies, this is also more evidence of what a mistake it is to follow the convention therein of focusing first and foremost on media content and advertising, rather than media planning and corporate marketing.  Important as they are, the former are mere symptoms of the latter processes, which are themselves mere symptoms of the continuing reign of corporate capital.

Of Boondoggles and the Memory Hole

Remember way back in 2008, when the federal government had to rescue the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, both of which had ruined themselves by making too many mortgage loans during the inflation phase of the housing bubble?  Remember how, way back in 2008, there were campaign promises that the lax lending would be restricted, in order to prevent a recurrence of the implosion?

Guess what.  That’s right:

Seeking to stabilize the foundering housing market, President Obama is offering a plan to help as many as nine million families refinance their mortgages or avoid foreclosure, according to a summary released by the White House on Wednesday morning.

Included in the package is a move to ease some restrictions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — which guarantee millions of home loans. Generally Fannie and Freddie cannot guarantee refinancing on mortgages valued at more than 80 percent of the home’s worth.

But the president’s plan would remove that restriction on mortgages the lending giants already own or guarantee.  [The New York Times, February 18, 2009]

Dmitry Orlov is right:  The USA’s ultra-decrepit overclass is completely out of real answers.  All it can do is throw new capitalist boondoggles on top of the craters left by the collapse of the old ones.

And, as they do this, they are displaying a truly Orwellian capacity for forgetting yesterday’s ancient history.

Meanwhile, the cravenness and market-totalitarian stupidity of the Obama Administration, which starts right where the buck supposedly stops, is yet more solid proof that, as the great Noam Chomsky says, we live in a one-party state.  There is the Business Party, which has two wings, called “Republicans” and “Democrats.”

Batten down the hatches, folks.  The worst is yet to come, and the flood will be very deep…

Too Much Quality: A Profit Killer

Thorstein Veblen saw capitalists as saboteurs of modern science and industry.  Their pursuit of profit obliges them to select wasteful product varieties, and then to refrain from maximizing the unit-quality of what they choose to produce.  That’s because too much product efficiency and longevity hurts business.

And so it goes.  Consider this July 14 item from Advertising Age:

The shaving business is slowing down in the U.S., even shrinking by some measures.

The economy isn’t helping, but the real factors behind the slowing of the $3 billion-plus shaving business are an aging population, a decline in men shaving and better products that last longer, according to a recently released report by market-research firm Mintel.

The fact is that “better products that last longer” are, contrary to the public professions* of the system’s executives and apologists, nothing like a top priority in corporate capitalism. Instead, they are a last resort in the ordinary course of big business.

Multiply this reality by the number of industries being allowed to organize production on behalf of private saboteurs, and you begin to see yet another dimension of why this social order will not make it through this century. The Earth and its people can’t stand it.

*”The chairman of the board will always tell you that he spends his every waking hour laboring so that people will get the best possible products at the cheapest possible price and work in the best possible conditions. But it’s an institutional fact, independent of who the chairman of the board is, that he’d better be trying to maximize profit and market share, and if he doesn’t do that, he’s not going to be chairman of the board any more. If he were ever to succumb to the delusions he expresses, he’d be out.” — Noam Chomsky

Emotionomics: A Noteworthy “Revelation” of Market Totalitarianism

Capitalism’s apologists have always painted their allegedly history-ending system as the anti-thesis of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism, of course, is the sort of modern social order in which a ruling elite tries to control all aspects of life among its underlying population, especially via threats and appeals to forms of propaganda-induced unreason.

Capitalism, they say, is the opposite of totalitarian, as it is inherently not just respectful of, but actively encouraging of, the advancement of independent self-interested calculation and free choice among the masses.

Alas, they lie.

As Noam Chomsky says, in the real world, capitalists hate the kinds of competitive “markets” classically assumed by Adam Smith. Those “classic” (and purportedly still-extant) situations are simply not conducive to maximizing owners’ profits, as they tend to require price- and management-minimization. Because of these noisome pressures, amid the Great Depression of the 1870s-1890s, the overclass used its clout to launch the corporate age. Capitalism quickly became corporate capitalism.

By the 1920s, the overclass began to realize that diverting some of its bounteous new corporate cash flows into managing not just workers, but also off-the-job behavior settings could, if well and carefully done, become yet another source of ROI.

In the 1950s, accelerating movement in this direction yielded the breakthrough now known in boardrooms and business schools as “the marketing revolution.” Ever since its consolidation — most especially in the core selling zones created by a combination of early capitalist plunder and employment patterns, mid-20th-century democratic footholds, and the need to bolster the Cold War storyline — corporate capitalists have devoted ever-growing budgets to managing the realm of what we uninformed commoners still quaintly think of as our “free time.”

With this in mind, over the coming weeks, I will help you take a look at Emotionomics, a new book in which corporate consultant Dan Hill reports and muses on the growing practice of corporate “neuromarketing.”

Here’s the overall context:

Described by marketing super-guru Philip Kotler as “a revelation,” the book not only tips the hand of core big business marketing attitudes and methods, but it is indeed a “revelation” — an especially clear, not-for-public ears enunciation of the true voice of corporate capital.

Hill’s core revelation is a naked, un-self-conscious admission of the reality of market totalitarianism at the heart of corporate capitalist normalcy.

Hill, whose “blue-chip clients have included Target, Toyota, GlaxoSmithKline, Allstate, and Kellogg, among many others,” counsels his audience of corporate planners to once-and-for-all stop kidding themselves about the “world’s love affair with rationality”:

Breakthroughs in brain science have revealed that people are primarily emotional decision-makers…Emotions are central, not peripheral, to both marketplace and workplace behavior. As a result, companies able to identify, quantify, and thereby act on achieving emotional buy-in or acceptance from consumers and employees alike will enjoy a tremendous competitive advantage.

It doesn’t get much plainer than that: both workers and “consumers” are objects of detailed, ongoing, essentially emotional managerial control campaigns.

As Noam Chomsky also frequently points out, big business corporations are “unaccountable private tyrannies.” These days, they are also getting increasingly clear amongst themselves about the classical nature of their tyranny: Stripped of the standard self-congratulating, self-excusing managerial jargon, this nature is nothing less than pure totalitarianism.