Marketing and Societal Unrest

I found myself completely unable to focus yesterday. Lunch is typically my time to draw and focus to relax and be more focused in the afternoon, since morning is my best work time for office work. I am unsure why this is true, since I really am not fully awake for some time, and by then my focus is growing flighty. Today, on the other hand has been one of disjointed attention since before the alarm went off. I couldn’t even focus on sleep and was awake early, thus being soundly asleep when the alarm did go off. Driving to work this morning I changed CDs twice, and I listen to NPR most of my ride, it was just not a day for some stories. News is growing repetitive and not only do the same things keep happening; they appear several places in a row each time. Many news stories prompt me to stop and research the topic when I get to work, it is part of why I arrive early; others just make me wonder about humanity, society, and the world.

Rebellions are the name of the day right now in news, that and labor laws. Most of the rebellions in this wave are due to repression, restriction of free gathering and communication, economics, and as always a little religious and race conflict thrown in. What I find curious about this, is the US response regarding many of the situations has been to tell them the repressive rules and restrictions on groups gathering peacefully, communication, free speech, and economic policies must be changed and they must be more humanitarian. This, from a government that has made it illegal to gather in groups, and can arrest anyone, claiming suspicion of terrorism without proof and hold them indefinitely. This from the society that is so concerned with political correctness and a war on terror they attack, ban, or silence anything not in a midline, conciliatory stance, or anything that could be implied as wishing harm on anyone or thing. This from a place that dictates you must carry identification papers everywhere; have vehicular, home, and medical insurance by law; must register where you are with the government and allow them to record every phone call, internet use, or recording of you; that films you in every action down to sitting at a red light. Any act of control can be logically explained to sound necessary, vital, good, and in the name of safety or freedom; but in reality, controls for the sake of safety limit freedom by their very nature. The difference is that Americans will never have those kinds of riots and upheavals, not because they are better off, not saying they are not, just that is not a factor. Americans are a society that wants their convenience, their security, their immediate comfort; anything that disturbs the balance is obviously bad. Besides they cannot agree on anything, and do not insist the government follow their desires, most American’s do not even know most of what the government does inside the US borders or out.

We had large groups go out in protest over foreclosures, joblessness, and economic inequality; but what I heard from people was those were just lazy, dissatisfied, basically worthless people not contributing to society, they needed to be ignored or cleaned up. Because they lost their home or their job, or both they were immediately less than, they became the problem and they were not following procedure. More than that, they were making waves and bringing bad attention. I find this somewhat remarkable; this attitude slipped through in many forms but was extremely common; not always the obvious statement, but often implied or the foundation of what was said. I see and hear comments stating that unemployed are lazy, or that minimum wage workers get less because they do less, have less skills, have less education, basically they are worth less. Consider the reality that many people work where they can get a job since the longer you are out of work; the harder it becomes to get a job. One research project found companies were more than 80% more probable to discard a resume with no callback if the applicant was out of work for more than 6 months, in favor of someone less qualified for the position. More than that, when you have a family to take care of, bills piling up, and are growing increasingly desperate at the pointless education and experience (since that is what it feels like when no one will hire you), then you will take any job that will give you a paycheck. I have known people with master’s degrees that were working minimum wage, or below if they were wait staff, when I met them. Do they have less drive, intelligence, experience, or is it less connections, access, and timing? Maybe they just had a bad time and are trying to start over.  Are we in a position to make these judgments on people? I don’t think we are, but I also don’t think a society with that outlook will have a real rebellion or push for change.

 People accustomed to comfort and spoon fed information will accept the bones thrown at them if it is through the right channels and marketed well. We are a society addicted to marketing. Understand, my Masters is in Marketing, I studies just how this came about and have considered where it has and will lead us. It dips into everything, even how television is done. Little things like, why run full television series and movies rather than more mini-series (an odd tangent it seems – I warned you). One answer is that unless they can market them like movies or have the reach of a full series, the marketing is lost in the flood and besides, we do not have the practice at moderation. There are other aspects to this, but marketing is a major part in the development, the result, and the future.  I see marketing direct everything from clothing to politics, art to sports.

Society seems to have gone backward of how it should function, when you allow marketing to control that much, you are allowing marketing to direct your thought. Politicians spend absurd amounts now in marketing themselves and their agendas, not because they want to fix anything, but because they want the benefits no one admits are there. Why would they spend millions to get something with no benefits? They are career politicians that must be reapproved every few years and never really make any drastic changes because that would rock the boat and they would lose their gig. But marketing makes it all sound good. Marketing directs what people wear, where they eat, what they eat, what they drive, where they live, how they talk, who they vote for, the things they buy, and what they watch. That’s a bit scary, look at how much of what most people do is directed by the practiced and studied art of manipulation employed by marketing people in business, government, non-profit, and media groups. Health industry markets good practices they are currently promoting. Pharm-coms promote drugs and procedures they want to sell. Insurance companies promote needs. Businesses promote products, services, needs, and more. Political entities promote agendas, people, policies, laws, and whatever else they think will help them. Legal entities promote laws, actions, safety, behavior, equipment, and dangers. Marketing teaches you that rather than following the market needs, you create the need that you have the product to fill. Business filled needs, but marketing shapes society to create the needs that make someone money or power.

This is marketing at work. A pool on the beach in a place with perfect weather and water temp year round.

This is marketing at work. A pool on the beach in a place with perfect weather and water temp year round.

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