Hasta la victoria siempre

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Componentele non-pecuniare ale fericirii, esentiale

In postarea „Averea adusa de imbunatatirea relatiilor sociale” aratam ca imbunatatirea relatiilor inter-umane aduce pentru fiecare o fericire echivalenta cu cea adusa initial de un castig banesc de zeci de mii de lire sterline, azi vom vedea o confirmare a acelei analize. Autorii pe care ii vom citi mai jos, Richard Ball si Kateryna Chernova, arata in lucrarea lor „Absolute Income, Relative Income, and Happiness”, publicata in Social Indicators Research, Volume 88, Number 3 / September, 2008, doua adevaruri clare: banii sporesc nesemnificativ fericirea, care este in screscuta puternic de factori non-pecuniari.

„Although we have found strong evidence that, ceteris paribus, larger absolute incomes and larger relative incomes both tend to make people happier, and that changes in relative income tend to have a greater effect on happiness than do changes in absolute income, the results presented in this section show that the effects on happiness of several nonpecuniary factors are greater by many orders of magnitude than the effects of either income measure. Money can buy some happiness, but compared to the happiness people derive from personal relationships, employment and good health, it can not buy much.”

Deci da, atat averea absoluta cat si cea relativa la altii aduc un plus de fericirea. Dar acest plus este nesemnificativ. Mai mult, aspecte legate de viata personala si sociala aduc o fericirea mult mai intensa si de durata, cu mult superioara celei aduse de castigul financiar. Mai exact:

* For a median individual who is single, getting married or finding a domestic partner would increase happiness as much as an increase in her absolute income of 767 percent (regression 1) or 1,948 percent (regression 2).

Un individ mediu, singur, care se casatoreste sau isi pur si simplu gaseste perechea, fericirea sporeste pe cat ar creste in urma unui castig financiar de 767% din castigul absolut pe care il are deja.

* For a median individual who is single, getting married or finding a domesticpartner would increase happiness as much as an increase in her relative income from the 50th to the 88th percentile (regression 1), or from 100 percent to 219 percent of her country’s median income (regression 2).

Un individ mediu, singur, care se casatoreste sau isi pur si simplu gaseste perechea, fericirea sporeste pe cat ar creste in urma unui castig financiar de la 100% la 219% din venitul mediu al tarii in care traieste.

* For a median individual who is unemployed, finding a full-time job for pay would increase happiness as much as an increase in her absolute income of 1,583 percent (regression 1) or 24,118 percent (regression 2).

Un individ mediu care este somer, isi va spori fericirea cu echivalentul a 1,583% in plus fata de castigul sau financiar daca reuseste sa se angajeze.

* For a median individual who is unemployed, finding a full-time job for pay would increase happiness as much as an increase in her relative income from the 50th to the 99.6th percentile (regression 1), or from 100 percent to 418 percent of her country’s median income (regression 2).

Un individ mediu care este somer, isi va spori fericirea de la 100% la 418% fata de venitul mediu al tarii in care traieste daca reuseste sa se angajeze.

* For a median individual who (on a 1 to 5 integer scale) gives her health a rating of 3 (the 25th percentile of our sample), an improvement in her health that increased her rating to 4 (the median of our sample) would increase happiness by as much as an increase in her absolute income of 6,531 percent (regression 1) or 163,650 percent (regression 2).

Un individ mediu care isi imbunatateste relativ putin starea de sanatate, devine mai fericit cu 6,531% mai mult fata de venitul sau absolut din prezent.

* For a median individual who (on a 1 to 5 integer scale) gives her health a rating of 3 (the 25th percentile of our sample), an improvement in her health that increased her rating to 4 (the median of our sample) would increase happiness more than an increase in her relative income from the 50th to the 100th percentile (regression 1), or as much as an increase in her relative income from 100 percent to 687 percent of her country’s median income (regression 2).

Un individ mediu care isi imbunatateste relativ putin starea de sanatate, devine la fel de fericit ca atunci cand ar castiga cu 687% mai mult fata de venitul mediu din tara sa.

Asadar, perechea, serviciul si sanatatea sunt aspectele esentiale ale fericirii, nu banii. Egalitarismul este cel mai potrivit sistem social care poate asigura aceste deziderate, cu accentul sau pus pe viata sociala, combaterea somajului dar si a muncii in exces, atat de daunatoare sanatatii.

Alergand pe loc


Hung-Lin Tao si Shih-Yung Chiu sunt profesori universitari de economie, unul la Soochow University, respectiv Tsing Hua University, ambele din Taiwan. In articolul lor „The Effects of Relative Income and AbsoluteIncome on Happiness”, aparut in Review of Development Economics, 13(1), 164–174, 2009, cei doi demonstreaza ca incercarea de a gasi fericire in sporirea averii e lovita de nulitate din doua motive: 1. comparatiile inter-sociale si 2. cresterea aspiratiilor odata cu cresterea veniturilor.

Cresterea simultana a veniturilor si aspiratiilor materiale:
„The problem is that income and aspiration are not independent. An increase in aspiration is associated with an increase in income. The increase in happiness due to an increase in income counteracts the corresponding increase in aspiration. This is what aspiration level theory elucidates. The interpretation of aspiration level theory is similar to the “preference drift” proposed by van Herwaarden et al. (1977). No matter how rich people are, they are always in need of something. Therefore, what they regard as “sufficient” income is always more than their actual income.This means that an individual’s utility function is conditional upon his or her sufficient income. As the amount of sufficient income changes, his or her utility function shifts, and this leads to preference drift.”

Explicatia:
„However, it needs to be asked what changes people’s perceived sufficient income. The first answer is that actual income pushes up sufficient income. Actual income enables a person to fulfill his or her old desires. In the meantime, the fulfillment of old desires creates new desires, and these need more income in order to be fulfilled. Second, peering at other people changes perceived sufficient income. The formal words “other people” in the literature refer to the “reference group.” Van de Stadtet al. (1985) used educational attainment, age, and employment status to define the reference group.”

Pe scurt, aspiratiile materiale cresc odata cu veniturile din doua motive: in primul rand, acest mecanism functioneaza independent de alti factori exteriori, pur si simplu atunci cand avem un anumit venit se creaza impresia ca o suma si mai mare ne-ar face cu adevarat mai fericiti. In al doilea rand, comparatiile cu cei de langa noi si asemenea noua, atat din punct de vedere regional cat si al pregatirii, al varstei si castigului duc la tendinta de a incerca sa-i depasim in avere.

Concluzia studiului:
Trecand la rezultatele obtinute de cei doi autori, acestia concluzioneaza:
„It appears that the upward comparison and downward comparison are no less important as factors than absolute income in terms of influencing subjective well-being, and a longitudinal comparison and parallel comparison function simultaneously. Because the absolute income effect and the three types of relative income effects counteract each other, the effect of income growth on subjective well-being is likely to be negligible. The result provides a piece of empirical evidence as to why income growth usually does not improve societal subjective well-being as economists have observed.”

Ce vor sa spuna Hung-Lin Tao si Shih-Yung Chiu? Ca oamenii se compara, in termeni de avere si venit, atat cu cei mai bogati decat ei, cat si cu cei mai saraci. Chiar daca ei devin ceva mai fericiti atunci cand vad ca i-au intrecut pe unii, sunt nefericiti ca au fost intrecuti de altii. Aceste doua efecte se anuleaza reciproc, astfel incat oricat de mult vom acumula, per total, fericirea noastra este cel mai probabil ca va stagna. Astfel se explica si de ce populatiile din tarile bogate nu sunt mai fericite decat in urma cu cateva decenii. Ele au continuat sa se imbogateasca, dar din moment ce intotdeauna vor aexista altii si mai bogati decat ei, tot efortul e in zadar. Este o alergare pe loc, un efort risipit.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mitul succesului individual

Capitalismul presupune o mentalitate individualista, o atitudine care subordoneaza interesele obstesti celor individuale. Capitalistul este elitist, in sensul ca i se pare normal ca unii indivizi sa detina averi si pozitii sociale mult mai inalte fata de majoritatea populatiei. Piatra de temelie a acestei gandiri este ca rasplata trebuie sa fie proportionala cu meritele. Persoanele iesite din comun, exceptionale, merita sa se imbogateasca, chiar daca astfel se creaza problematicile inegalitati sociale.
Una din problemele cu acest mod de a gandi este ca insisi bogatasi recunosc ca isi datoreaza in cea mai mare parte averilor muncii si eforturilor colective, ale intregii societati. Ideologia succesului si meritului individual devine astfel un mit si suntem cu un pas inainte spre justificarea deplina a egalitarismului: daca individul nu are decat o contributie modesta, si aceea de multe ori datorata norocului si/sau unui sistem social stramb croit, cum se mai poate justifica existenta claselor, a saracilor pe de o parte si, mai ales, bogatilor, pe de alta.

Ca este asa, ne-o demonstreaza raportul "I Didn't Do It Alone: Society's Contribution to Individual Wealth and Success," publicat in 2004 de Responsible Wealth si United for a Fair Economy. Iata mai jos cum bogatii insisi recunosc ca nu isi merita in mare parte averile:

Bogatii, intr-un moment de sinceritate:
„My wealth is not only a product of my own hard work. It also resulted from a strong economy and lots of public investment, both in others and in me. I received a good public school education, and used free libraries and museums paid for by others. I went to college under the GI Bill. I went to graduate school to study computers and language on a complete government scholarship, paid for by others. While teaching at Syracuse University for 25 years, my research was supported by numerous government grants – again, paid for by others. (...)
Upon my death, I hope taxes on my estate will help fund the kind of programs that benefited me and others from humble backgrounds: a good education, money for research and targeted investments in poor communities. I’d like all Americans to have the same opportunities I did.”
Martin Rothenberg

„Lots of people who are smart and work hard and play by the rules don’t have a fraction of what I have. I realize I don’t have my wealth because I’m so brilliant. Luck has a lot to do with it.”
Eric Schmidt

„Most wealth comes out of the commons and individuals add a little bit on top of that. But because of the way capitalism is set up, for adding that little bit, you get to grab an enormous share of what comes out of the commons.”
Petern Barnes

„I personally think that society is responsible for a very significant percentage of what I’ve earned. If you stick me down in the middle of Bangladesh or Peru or someplace, you’ll find out how much this talent is going to produce in the wrong kind of soil. I will be struggling 30 years later. I work in a market system that happens to reward what I do very well – disproportionately well. (...)
If you’re a marvelous teacher, this world won’t pay a lot for it. If you are a terrific nurse, this world will not pay a lot for it...I do think that when you’re treated enormously well by this market system, where in effect the market system showers the ability to buy goods and services on you because of some peculiar talent – maybe your adenoids are a certain way, so you can sing and everybody will pay you enormous sums to be on television or whatever – I think society has a big claim on that.”
Warren Buffet

„There’s no way I would be here if I hadn’t worked at a national lab. It was the best place in the world to learn how to do this. I probably wouldn’t have gotten that job if I hadn’t had a master’s degree from a public university. I wouldn’t have had that master’s or a bachelor’s degree if
there weren’t financial aid, and an assistantship in grad school. And had I not gone to a good public school, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into the university. So you just keep stepping back. Heck, if my mother hadn’t had the right pre-natal care, I could have been 28 IQ points less
intelligent! So where does it start?
It all builds. In this country there is more opportunity and mobility than anywhere else in the world. But it’s very rare that a lot of factors beyond the individual haven’t contributed, a lot of stars haven’t aligned properly to create someone’s success.”
Jerry Fiddler

„The opportunities to create wealth are all taking advantage of public goods--like roads, transportation, markets--and public investments... We are all standing on the shoulders of all that came before us, and creating a society for our children and those that come after us. We have obligations as part of that.”
Jim Sherblom

„This is the land of opportunity because we took off economically around the industrial revolution. And the New England revolution in the textile industry was heavily
subsidized by unpaid labor, making the cotton cheap. Even someone far down the economic ladder, just working in a textile mill, benefited indirectly. His or her job depended on someone not being paid for picking the cotton. Our land of opportunity, this place that people all over the
world migrate to, was made economically vibrant by slave labor.”
Katrina Browne

„I know a lot of people who believe their success is only due to their hard work, their ingenuity, their energy and their willingness to take risks. They say ‘I made it, it’s mine and I’m going to hold onto it.’ That thought process profoundly influences their views about many other issues
such as taxes or charitable giving. My response is that a lot of factors go into building a successful business. For instance, did they go to a public high school or a taxsupported college? A lot of folks forget the help they got.”
David Lewis

Ce reiese de aici daca nu faptul ca bogatasii insisi recunosc ca averile lor colosale se datorea norocului, muncii altora, ajutoarelor primite din partea societatii. Cu ce drept moral se mai poate apara atunci ideea de bogatie individuala? Nu cumva acea avere apartine intregii colectivitati, iar redistribuirea devine si mai clar o masura necesara de echitate sociala?

Ce sta in spatele succesului individual
Autorii documentului citat enumera cateva dintre cauzele care au dus ca unii indivizi sa se imbogateasca. Vom observa cat de putine au acestea de-a face cu meritul personal.

1. Locatia
„This individual success myth overlooked a number of key social and environmental factors. One was location. No matter what personal qualities someone had, if they didn’t live in a booming commercial center like New York City, Boston or Philadelphia, or an ascendant industrial town like Lawrence, Lowell or Rochester, they didn’t become rich.”

2. Exproprieri, sclavagism, rasism
„Another unique external factor was the opportunity that existed then thanks to expanding frontiers and seemingly unlimited natural resources. The US was conquering and expropriating land from native people, and distributing it to railroads, white homesteaders and land barons. Most of the major Gilded Age fortunes were tied to cornering a market and exploiting natural resources such as minerals, oil and timber. Even P.T. Barnum, the celebrated purveyor of individual success aphorisms, had to admit in The Art of Money-Getting that “in a new country, where we have more land than people, it is not at all difficult for persons in good health to make money.” He might have added that it also helped to be male, to be free rather than a slave, and to be white. People of color were explicitly excluded from federal largesse. Alien land laws, for example, prohibited most non-whites from owning land.”

3. Norocul de a te naste la momentul favorabil
„Then there was the luck of timing. Those born in the first half of the 19th century who survived the Civil War caught the wave of resource exploitation and industrial expansion. This was a time akin to the 1990s technology boom. Wyllie notes that from a statistical point of view, being born in 1835 was “the most propitious birth year for a poor boy who hoped to rise into the business
elite.”8 Andrew Carnegie hit this lottery perfectly. He was born in 1835, held a desk job during the Civil War and reached business maturity after the fighting ceased.”

4. Efortul colectiv
„Colleagues and Co-workers. For anyone engaged in a large endeavor to state “I did it alone” renders invisible all the contributions of co-workers, colleagues and those who went before in a given field. Ideas, products and books do not emerge in a vacuum. Other people’s creativity, labor, feedback and suggestions are always involved. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt remarked, Wealth in the modern world resulted from a combination of individual efforts. In spite of the great importance in our national life of the...ingenuity of unusual individuals, the people in the mass have inevitably helped to make large fortunes possible. Unfortunately, the contribution of the team, the helper, the editor and the laborer are often undervalued in measuring wealth and achievement.”

5. Mosteniri
„Among the very wealthy, inherited privilege is often a guaranteed catapult to continued wealth. Almost a third of the Forbes 400, for instance, are born onto the list (149 members in 2001, with an average net worth of $2.6 billion). Using baseball imagery, they essentially were born rounding third base and heading for home. And at least another quarter were born standing on the base path, meaning they were fortunate enough to inherit a small business, a piece of
land with oil under it, or an investment of “parental equity” on flexible terms. They combined this legacy with their own skill and effort, and built it into a successful enterprise. For example:
• Kenneth Field inherited the Ringling Brothers Circus in 1920 when it was worth tens of millions. He now has a net worth of over $650 million.
• Donald Trump inherited a real estate business valued at more than $150 million and built it into an empire.
• In 1998, the Forbes 400 listed Philip Anschutz (net worth $5.2 billion) as ‘self-made’ even though he inherited an oil and gas field worth $500 million. Not a bad head start in life!”

6. Investitii publice
„The federal government spends tens of billions a year on research, mostly in grants to universities. Without that investment, there would be no Internet, no human genome research and few medical wonder drugs. We should not underestimate the role of this research in creating the bedrock for wealth creation and the quality of life we enjoy. Martin Rothenberg, for example, believes he would be nowhere without the government’s investment in technological advancement. Government investment in technology research also helps businesses to operate
more efficiently. According to economist Lester Thurow, over half of the growth in the economy each year results from technology-induced productivity gains. Many of these gains result from publicly funded research as well.”

In concluzie, marile averi nu sunt datorate decat marginal individualitatilor si talentelor remarcabile ale celor ce le detin. In realitate, ele se datoreaza sansei, exploatarii si exproprierii altora, norocului, eforturilor colective, banilor de la stat (adica ale intregii societati), discriminarii etc. Observam deci ca bogatasii, dupa propriile lor standarde si consfesiuni, ar trebui sa detina o avere considerabil mai mica decat in prezent. Astfel, ideologia individualismului si elitismul meritocratic se dovedesc a fi mituri, minciuni.
Egalitarismul este astfel justificat nu doar pe temeiuri utilitariste (banii nu sporesc fericirea peste o limita modesta, dar o sporesc consistent pana la acea limita) dar si pe temeiuri deontologice, principiale si etice: bogatasii nu ar trebui sa existe pentru ca averile lor apartin de drept poporului, colectivitatilor, nu unui singur individ. Spre redistribuirea marilor averi asadar, spre colectivismul egalitarismului deplin!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pretins avantaj al capitalismului, in realitate defect

In postarile „Prosperitatea nefericirii” si „Ce e mult, dauneaza” aratam cum multitudinea de optiuni (in domeniul produselor de consum, de pilda) nu este un avantaj, scazand multumirea si satisfactia personala. Un nou studiu a aparut recent care demonstreaza acelasi lucru.

„Google provides almost 100 million results for the query ”Britney Spears”. Researchers at Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT showed that users get overwhelmed with an increasing number of results. They are more satisfied with their choice when they are only given a few items.
In numerous everyday domains, it has been demonstrated that increasing the number of options beyond a handful can lead to paralysis and poor choice. That can decrease subsequent satisfaction with the choice. Research in psychology has shown that, for example, passersby are more likely to be drawn to jams on display, more likely to buy them, and more satisfied as customers when there are six jams to choose from than 24.
Researchers Antti Oulasvirta and Janne Hukkinen at HIIT, Finland and Barry Schwartz at Swarthmore College, USA, ran an experiment where 24 participants did normal information search tasks with Google. Half of the trials were done with 24 items on a page, and the rest with 6 items on a page. Having to choose from six results yielded both higher subjective satisfaction with the choice and greater confidence in its correctness than when there were 24 on the results page. The implication of the research to search engine design is that there are situations and users who might benefit from a reduced set of result items.”
Sursa aici.

In studiul intitial, autorii subliniaza:
„We know from cognitive psychology that choice overload can have three unfortunate effects: it can paralyze, it can lead to poor choices, and it can lead to dissatisfaction with even good choices. The power of modern search tools is extraordinary, but if they result in users feeling paralyzed and powerless, they becomeself-defeating. Putting “all the world’s information” in front of people may solve one problem, but it creates another. Virtually all of the research on choice overload done thus far has been in connection with consumer goods. The present study extendsthe phenomenon to the domain of information.
We found that a six-item search result list was associated with higher satisfaction, confidence, and perceived carefulness than a 24-item list. The effect was robust; it held for all three task types and for 22 out of the 24 participants, although none was a maximizer.Why the effect has not been reported before may be due to theeffect size: Our effect size analysis revealed that the phenomenonis perhaps too small to be obvious to the naked eye, though it stillis large enough to have ecological significance.”

Asadar, prea multe optiuni cauzeaza o paralizie a consumatorilor, carora le este din ce in ce mai greu sa se hotarasca asupra alegerii; de multe ori, sunt facute alegeri mai putin optime; consumatorul poate fi nemultumit chiar si daca a reusit sa faca o alegere buna.
Aceleasi efecte sunt de acum verificate si in cazul internetului si a rezultatelor date de motoarele de cautare.
Aceste descoperiri arata ca nu avem nevoie de o cantitate mare de produse pentru a fi multumiti si nici de eforturi de creatie in domeniul marketingului iesite din comun; se probeaza inca o data ca pretinsul avantaj al capitalismului, de a oferi o varietate de produse sporita este in fapt o problema a lui.
In concluzie, dupa cum spuneam cu o alta ocazie, limitarea tipurilor de sortimente de pe piata nu doar ca inseamna mai putina munca si mai mult timp liber pentru fiecare, dar este in sine un izvor de multumire si satisfactie.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fundamentalismul consumerist

Merita prezentat aici un foarte bun articol semnat de Bruce Levine si intitulat Fundamentalist Consumerism and an Insane Society, publicat in numarul din februarie 2009 al revistei Z Magazine.
Originalitatea demersului sau rezida in faptul ca asociaza consumerismul cu fundamentalismul religios. Astfel, aceasta manie capitalista se dovedeste o credinta necoroborata de stiinta, irationala, cu efecte dintre cele mai nocive asupra individului si societatii. sa-l urmarim deci pe Levine.

„At a giant Ikea store in Saudi Arabia in 2004, three people were killed by a stampede of shoppers fighting for one of a limited number of $150 credit vouchers. Similarly, in November 2008, a worker at a New York Wal-Mart was trampled to death by shoppers intent on buying one of a limited number of 50-inch plasma HDTVs.
Jdiniytai Damour, a temporary maintenance worker was killed on "Black Friday." In the predawn darkness, approximately 2,000 shoppers waited impatiently outside Wal-Mart, chanting, "Push the doors in." According to Damour's fellow worker Jimmy Overby, "He was bum-rushed by 200 people. They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me." Witnesses reported that Damour, 34 years old, gasped for air as shoppers continued to surge over him. When police instructed shoppers to leave the store after Damour's death, many refused, some yelling, "I've been in line since yesterday morning."
The mainstream press covering Damour's death focused on the mob of crazed shoppers and, to a lesser extent, irresponsible Wal-Mart executives who failed to provide security. However, absent in the corporate press was anything about a consumer culture and an insane society in which marketers, advertisers, and media promote the worship of cheap stuff.
Along with journalists, my fellow mental health professionals have also covered up societal insanity. An exception is the democratic-socialist psychoanalyst Erich Fromm (1900-1980). Fromm, in The Sane Society (1955), wrote: "Yet many psychiatrists and psychologists refuse to entertain the idea that society as a whole may be lacking in sanity. They hold that the problem of mental health in a society is only that of the number of 'unadjusted' individuals, and not of a possible unadjustment of the culture itself."

Autorul evidentiaza in primul rand decesele a doua persoane, cauzate de fanaticii consumerismului. E vorba despre doi paznici ai unor supermarketuri, calcati in picioare si zdrobiti de multimea insetata de consum. Asemenea fundamentalismului religios, si cel consumerist fac asadar victime omenesti. Levine puncteaza pertinent insa ca nu e vorba doar de nebunia celor aflati la fata locului, ci de un simptom al intreghii societati, posedate de dogma materialista.

Efectele fundamentalismului consumerist
Levine insira sase efecte pe care dogma materialismului capitalist le are asupra societatii.

1. Cresterea aspiratiilor materiale
„These expectations often go unmet and create pain, which fuels emotional difficulties and destructive behaviors. In a now classic 1998 study examining changes in the mental health of Mexican immigrants who came to the United States, public policy researcher William Vega found that assimilation to U.S. society meant three times the rate of depressive episodes for these immigrants. Vega also found major increases in substance abuse and other harmful behaviors. Many of these immigrants found themselves with the pain of increased material expectations that went dissatisfied and they also reported the pain of diminished social support.”

Cresterea asipratiilor materiale, tipica propagandei consumului excesiv, duce la dificultati emotionale si comportamente daunatoare. de aceea imigrantii care adopta stilul de viata american ajung de trei ori mai depresivi decat cei care nu isi insusesc valorile materialismului. Depresia duce apoi la abuz de substante, alienare sociala, nefericire.

2. Degradarea legaturilor inter-umane
„A 2006 study in the American Sociological Review noted that the percentage of Americans who reported being without a single close friend to confide in rose in the last 20 years from 10 percent to almost 25 percent. Social isolation is highly associated with depression and other emotional problems. Increasing loneliness, however, is good news for a consumer economy that thrives on increasing numbers of "buying units"—more lonely people means selling more televisions, DVDs, psychiatric drugs, etc.”

Numarul americanilor fara un singur prieten apropiat a crescut in ultimii 10 ani de la 10% la 25%. oamenii singuri si nefericiti se refugiaza in bunurile materiale care sa le tina companie, exact ce isi propun agentii de marketing.

3. Promovarea egoismului
„Self-absorption is one of many reasons for U.S. skyrocketing rates of depression and other emotional difficulties—and self-absorption is exactly what a consumer culture demands. The Buddha, 2,500 years ago, recognized the relationship between selfish craving and emotional difficulties, and many observers of human beings, from Spinoza to Erich Fromm, have come to similar conclusions.”

4. Pierderea auto-suficientei
„The loss of self-reliance can create painful anxiety, which fuels depression and other problematic behaviors. In modern society, an increasing number of people—women as well as men—cannot cook a simple meal. They will never know the anti-anxiety effects of being secure in their ability to prepare their own food, grow their own vegetables, hunt, fish, or gather food for survival. In a consumer culture, such self-reliance makes no sense. At some level, people know that should they lose their incomes—not impossibilities these days—they have no ability to survive.”

Din ce in ce mai multi oameni se dezobisnuiesc de efectuarea de catre ei insisi a anumitor treburi casnice, de pilda, depinzand de servicii de pe piata. Exemplul cu gatitul este relevant. Pierderea autonomiei personale ajuta doar economia de piata si cheltuirea banilor, dar slabeste increderea in puterile proprii.

5. Alienarea sociala
The priests of consumer culture—advertisers and marketers—know that fundamentalist consumers will buy more if they are alienated from such normal reactions as boredom, frustration, sadness, and anxiety. If these priests can convince us that a given emotional state is shameful or evidence of a disease, then we will be more likely to buy not only psychiatric drugs, but also all kinds of products to make ourselves feel better. When we become frightened and alienated from a natural human reaction, this "pain over pain" creates more fuel for depression and other self-destructive behaviors and harmful actions.

O critica asemanatoare celei de la punctul 2. Evitarea emotiilor negative, firesti in viata, este incurajata prin consum si materialism.

6. Speranta desarte
„The false hope of fundamentalist consumerism is that we will one day discover a product that can predictably manipulate moods without any downsides. Modern psychiatry is a full member of consumer culture. Its "Holy Grail" is a search for the antidepressant that can take away the pain of despair, but not destroy life. In the late 19th century, Freud thought he had found it with cocaine. In the middle of the 20th century, psychiatrists thought they had found it with amphetamines, and later with tricyclic antidepressants like Tofranil and Elavil. At the end of the 20th century, there were the SSRIs, such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, which were ultimately found to create dependency and painful withdrawal and to be no more effective than placebos. Whatever the antidepressant drug, it is introduced as taking away depression without destroying life. Time after time, it is then discovered that when one tinkers with neurotransmitters, there is—as there is with electroshock and psycho-surgery—damage to life.”

Scopul societatii de consum e sa vanda produsul perfect, prin care orice nemultumire, nefericire, anxietate ori teama a consumetorului sa dispara instantaneu si fericirea sa fie gasita. Toate incercarile de acest fel au esuat lamentabil insa, dovedindu-se sperante desarte. Fericirea nu vine din achizitionarea unui produs, ci din interiorul psihicului uman. Fericirea dependenta de exterior nu e fericire, in orice caz, nu de lunga durata.

Dogma fundamentalista
„Fundamentalists reject both reason and experience. Fundamentalists are attached to dogma and if their dogma fails, they don't give it up, but instead resolve to deepen their faith and double down on their dogma. (...)
Breaking free of fundamentalist consumerism means thinking of alternatives and it also means an active defiance: choosing to experience the various dimensions of life that have been excluded by the dogma.”

Consumerismul este o dogma, ale carei efecte sunt asemanatoare cu a oricarei alta dogma. Ea produce inchistare si limitare. Avem nevoie sa depasim ideologia superstitioasa a consumului si trebuie sa intelegem ca viata ne ofera multe alte surse de fericire. Cautarea nirvanei prin materialism este o pista falsa, iar preotii capitalismului s-au dovedit de prea multe ori deja ca fiind profeti falsi.

Capitalismul, cauza muncii in exces si a consumerismului, inamicul vietii sociale



Jeffrey Kaplan a publicat in numarul din mai-iunie 2008 al revistei Orion un excelent articol numit „The Gospel of Consumption and the better future we left behind”. Kaplan subliniaza importanta pe care o are consumul exacerbat pentru marile afaceri si cum de aici porneste munca in exces, deterioararea vietii sociale, consumerismul si exploatarea muncitorilor din tarile sarace, alaturi de distrugerea rapida a resurselor naturale.

Marii capitalisti si cresterea consumului

„Despite the apparent tidal wave of new consumer goods and what appeared to be a healthy appetite for their consumption among the well-to-do, industrialists were worried. They feared that the frugal habits maintained by most American families would be difficult to break. Perhaps even more threatening was the fact that the industrial capacity for turning out goods seemed to be increasing at a pace greater than people’s sense that they needed them.
It was this latter concern that led Charles Kettering, director of General Motors Research, to write a 1929 magazine article called “Keep the Consumer Dissatisfied.” He wasn’t suggesting that manufacturers produce shoddy products. Along with many of his corporate cohorts, he was defining a strategic shift for American industry—from fulfilling basic human needs to creating new ones.”

Iata ca Charles Kettering, director de cercetari la general Motors, a fost printre primii care sa vina cu ideea, in 1929, de a-i tine pe consumatori nesatisfacuti. Astfel industria americana, capitalista, s-a reorientat de la satisfacerea nevoilor umane de baza la creearea de nevoi noi.

„In a 1927 interview with the magazine Nation’s Business, Secretary of Labor James J. Davis provided some numbers to illustrate a problem that the New York Times called “need saturation.” Davis noted that “the textile mills of this country can produce all the cloth needed in six months’ operation each year” and that 14 percent of the American shoe factories could produce a year’s supply of footwear. The magazine went on to suggest, “It may be that the world’s needs ultimately will be produced by three days’ work a week.”

Secretarul de stat al muncii din 1927, James Davis, a recunoscut ca industria textila a SUA putea produce toate textilele necesare in jumatate de an, iar 14% dintre fabricile americane de pantofi erau suficiente pentru a satisface intreaga cerere interna de pantofi. Se nastea astfel posibilitatea ca nevoile intregii umanitati sa fie satisfacute intr-un timp record, ceea ce ar fi insemnat munca extrem de putina pentru intreaga societate.

„Business leaders were less than enthusiastic about the prospect of a society no longer centered on the production of goods. For them, the new “labor-saving” machinery presented not a vision of liberation but a threat to their position at the center of power. John E. Edgerton, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, typified their response when he declared: “I am for everything that will make work happier but against everything that will further subordinate its importance. The emphasis should be put on work—more work and better work.” “Nothing,” he claimed, “breeds radicalism more than unhappiness unless it is leisure.””

Cine au fost insa deranjati de o asemenea posibilitate? Afaceristii, ingrijorati de scaderea profiturilor si de „radicalismul” populatiei, care ar fi putut sa se multumeasca cu un consum redus in paralel cu un timp liber de multe zeci de ori marit.

„By the late 1920s, America’s business and political elite had found a way to defuse the dual threat of stagnating economic growth and a radicalized working class in what one industrial consultant called “the gospel of consumption”—the notion that people could be convinced that however much they have, it isn’t enough. President Herbert Hoover’s 1929 Committee on Recent Economic Changes observed in glowing terms the results: “By advertising and other promotional devices . . . a measurable pull on production has been created which releases capital otherwise tied up.” They celebrated the conceptual breakthrough: “Economically we have a boundless field before us; that there are new wants which will make way endlessly for newer wants, as fast as they are satisfied.””

Asadar, spre sfarsitul anilor 20, advertisigul a inceput sa fie vazut ca „salvarea” marilor afaceri, creand nevoi artificiale.

Pericolele consumerismului, observate de timpuriu

„FROM THE EARLIEST DAYS of the Age of Consumerism there were critics. One of the most influential was Arthur Dahlberg, whose 1932 book Jobs, Machines, and Capitalism was well known to policymakers and elected officials in Washington. Dahlberg declared that “failure to shorten the length of the working day . . . is the primary cause of our rationing of opportunity, our excess industrial plant, our enormous wastes of competition, our high pressure advertising, [and] our economic imperialism.” Since much of what industry produced was no longer aimed at satisfying human physical needs, a four-hour workday, he claimed, was necessary to prevent society from becoming disastrously materialistic. “By not shortening the working day when all the wood is in,” he suggested, the profit motive becomes “both the creator and satisfier of spiritual needs.” For when the profit motive can turn nowhere else, “it wraps our soap in pretty boxes and tries to convince us that that is solace to our souls.””

Arthur Dahlberg observa pe buna dreptate ca in cazul in care ziua de lucru nu va fi redusa la patru ore, vor aparea efecte secundare dezastruoase precum industrializarea excesiva, risipa adusa de competitie, advertisingul sufocant, imperialismul economic, implementarea ideologiei materialiste.

O lume mai buna era posibila: cazul W. K. Kellogg

„ There was, for a time, a visionary alternative. In 1930 Kellogg Company, the world’s leading producer of ready-to-eat cereal, announced that all of its nearly fifteen hundred workers would move from an eight-hour to a six-hour workday. Company president Lewis Brown and owner W. K. Kellogg noted that if the company ran “four six-hour shifts . . . instead of three eight-hour shifts, this will give work and paychecks to the heads of three hundred more families in Battle Creek.”
This was welcome news to workers at a time when the country was rapidly descending into the Great Depression. But as Benjamin Hunnicutt explains in his book Kellogg’s Six-Hour Day, Brown and Kellogg wanted to do more than save jobs. They hoped to show that the “free exchange of goods, services, and labor in the free market would not have to mean mindless consumerism or eternal exploitation of people and natural resources.” Instead “workers would be liberated by increasingly higher wages and shorter hours for the final freedom promised by the Declaration of Independence—the pursuit of happiness.”
To be sure, Kellogg did not intend to stop making a profit. But the company leaders argued that men and women would work more efficiently on shorter shifts, and with more people employed, the overall purchasing power of the community would increase, thus allowing for more purchases of goods, including cereals.
A shorter workday did entail a cut in overall pay for workers. But Kellogg raised the hourly rate to partially offset the loss and provided for production bonuses to encourage people to work hard. The company eliminated time off for lunch, assuming that workers would rather work their shorter shift and leave as soon as possible. In a “personal letter” to employees, Brown pointed to the “mental income” of “the enjoyment of the surroundings of your home, the place you work, your neighbors, the other pleasures you have [that are] harder to translate into dollars and cents.” Greater leisure, he hoped, would lead to “higher standards in school and civic . . . life” that would benefit the company by allowing it to “draw its workers from a community where good homes predominate.”
It was an attractive vision, and it worked. Not only did Kellogg prosper, but journalists from magazines such as Forbes and BusinessWeek reported that the great majority of company employees embraced the shorter workday. One reporter described “a lot of gardening and community beautification, athletics and hobbies . . . libraries well patronized and the mental background of these fortunate workers . . . becoming richer.”
A U.S. Department of Labor survey taken at the time, as well as interviews Hunnicutt conducted with former workers, confirm this picture. The government interviewers noted that “little dissatisfaction with lower earnings resulting from the decrease in hours was expressed, although in the majority of cases very real decreases had resulted.” One man spoke of “more time at home with the family.” Another remembered: “I could go home and have time to work in my garden.” A woman noted that the six-hour shift allowed her husband to “be with 4 boys at ages it was important.”
Those extra hours away from work also enabled some people to accomplish things that they might never have been able to do otherwise. Hunnicutt describes how at the end of her interview an eighty-year-old woman began talking about ping-pong. “We’d get together. We had a ping-pong table and all my relatives would come for dinner and things and we’d all play ping-pong by the hour.” Eventually she went on to win the state championship.
Many women used the extra time for housework. But even then, they often chose work that drew in the entire family, such as canning. One recalled how canning food at home became “a family project” that “we all enjoyed,” including her sons, who “opened up to talk freely.” As Hunnicutt puts it, canning became the “medium for something more important than preserving food. Stories, jokes, teasing, quarreling, practical instruction, songs, griefs, and problems were shared. The modern discipline of alienated work was left behind for an older . . . more convivial kind of working together.”
This was the stuff of a human ecology in which thousands of small, almost invisible, interactions between family members, friends, and neighbors create an intricate structure that supports social life in much the same way as topsoil supports our biological existence. When we allow either one to become impoverished, whether out of greed or intemperance, we put our long-term survival at risk.”

Astfel, in 1930, Compania Kellog a venit cu ideea reducerii programului zilnic de munca la 6 ore si angajarii unui numar mai mare de muncitori. Initiativa a fost primita cu entuziasm de colectiv, oamenii fiind mutumiti cu plata mai mica dar, in acelasi timp, cu sporirirea timpului liber. In acest fel viata sociala, comunitara, a inflorit.

Unde s-a ajuns in realitate

„Our modern predicament is a case in point. By 2005 per capita household spending (in inflation-adjusted dollars) was twelve times what it had been in 1929, while per capita spending for durable goods—the big stuff such as cars and appliances—was thirty-two times higher. Meanwhile, by 2000 the average married couple with children was working almost five hundred hours a year more than in 1979. And according to reports by the Federal Reserve Bank in 2004 and 2005, over 40 percent of American families spend more than they earn. The average household carries $18,654 in debt, not including home-mortgage debt, and the ratio of household debt to income is at record levels, having roughly doubled over the last two decades. We are quite literally working ourselves into a frenzy just so we can consume all that our machines can produce.”

Aproximativ 70 de ani mai tarziu, lumea capitalista a facut alegerea gresita, alegand munca in exces si consumerismul in dauna timpului liber si socializari. Rezultatele? In 2005, cheltuielile casnice erau de 12 ori mai mari decat in 1929. Americanii cheltuiesc de 30 de ori mai mult pe bunuri precum automobilele; 40% dintre familiile americane cheltuiesc mai mult decat isi permit; familiile obisnuite au datorii si credite de aproape 19.000$.

„Yet we could work and spend a lot less and still live quite comfortably. By 1991 the amount of goods and services produced for each hour of labor was double what it had been in 1948. By 2006 that figure had risen another 30 percent. In other words, if as a society we made a collective decision to get by on the amount we produced and consumed seventeen years ago, we could cut back from the standard forty-hour week to 5.3 hours per day—or 2.7 hours if we were willing to return to the 1948 level. We were already the richest country on the planet in 1948 and most of the world has not yet caught up to where we were then.”

Kaplan are dreptate sa scrie ca am fi putut munci mult mai putin si trai perfect confortabil. In 1991, cantitatea de bunuri produse in Aaerica era dubla fata de cea din 1948. Astfel, ar fi fost suficienta ziua de munca de 2,7 ore ca sa fie mentinut nivelul material american din 1948, moment la care SUA era cea mai bogata natiune si ar fi fost in top chiar si in zilele noastre.

„Rather than realizing the enriched social life that Kellogg’s vision offered us, we have impoverished our human communities with a form of materialism that leaves us in relative isolation from family, friends, and neighbors. We simply don’t have time for them. Unlike our great-grandparents who passed the time, we spend it. An outside observer might conclude that we are in the grip of some strange curse, like a modern-day King Midas whose touch turns everything into a product built around a microchip.””

In final, mania muncii in exces a insemnat distrugerea vietii sociale implinite, din moement ce oamenii au ales sa munceasca in loc sa socializeze. materialismul, promovat de marile afaceri, este cauza fundamentala a acestui declin uman.

Precizare

„Of course not everybody has been able to take part in the buying spree on equal terms. Millions of Americans work long hours at poverty wages while many others can find no work at all. However, as advertisers well know, poverty does not render one immune to the gospel of consumption.
Meanwhile, the influence of the gospel has spread far beyond the land of its origin. Most of the clothes, video players, furniture, toys, and other goods Americans buy today are made in distant countries, often by underpaid people working in sweatshop conditions. The raw material for many of those products comes from clearcutting or strip mining or other disastrous means of extraction. Here at home, business activity is centered on designing those products, financing their manufacture, marketing them—and counting the profits.”

Kaplan face bine sa precizeze ca nu toate familiile americane au luat parte la nebunia comercialista, milioane muncind in exces doar pentru a-si asigura nevoile de baza. Totodata, consumerismul american e sprijinit in mare masura de exploatarea la care sunt supusi de marile firme muncitorii din tarile sarace, cu forta de munca ieftina.

Strategiile diavolului

„The new managers saw only costs and no benefits to the six-hour day, and almost immediately after the end of the war they began a campaign to undermine shorter hours. Management offered workers a tempting set of financial incentives if they would accept an eight-hour day. Yet in a vote taken in 1946, 77 percent of the men and 87 percent of the women wanted to return to a thirty-hour week rather than a forty-hour one. In making that choice, they also chose a fairly dramatic drop in earnings from artificially high wartime levels.
The company responded with a strategy of attrition, offering special deals on a department-by-department basis where eight hours had pockets of support, typically among highly skilled male workers. In the culture of a post-war, post-Depression U.S., that strategy was largely successful. ”

Iata deci ca in 1946, 77% dintre barbati si 87% dintre femei isi doreau revenirea la saptamana de lucru de 30 de ore, preferand salariile mai mici. managerii companiilor i-au atras insa cu cresteri salariale, impiedicandu-i astfel sa aleaga optiunea corecta. Dezastru a urmat:

„Despite the enormous difference in societal wealth between the 1930s and the 1980s, the language the mavericks used to explain their preference for a six-hour workday was almost identical to that used by Kellogg workers fifty years earlier. One woman, worried about the long hours worked by her son, said, “He has no time to live, to visit and spend time with his family, and to do the other things he really loves to do.”
Several people commented on the link between longer work hours and consumerism. One man said, “I was getting along real good, so there was no use in me working any more time than I had to.” He added, “Everybody thought they were going to get rich when they got that eight-hour deal and it really didn’t make a big difference. . . . Some went out and bought automobiles right quick and they didn’t gain much on that because the car took the extra money they had.””

Asadar, cresterea veniturilor nu a adus decat beneficii iluzorii, in schimb a deteriorat serios viata familiala si sociala.

E timpul ca populatia sa realizeze situatia in care se afla si sa spuna un NU hotarat muncii in exces si consumerismului. Marii patroni sunt singurii care vor avea de pierdut, in acest fel slabindu-se acest sistem infernal si anti-uman numit „capitalism”. Frugalitatea, satisfacerea nevoilor materiale fundamentale, timpul liber si socializarea sunt caile spre fericirea autenmtica, nu munca in exces si materialismul.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Consumerismul, infectia produsa de corporatii

Profesorii Gary Ruskin si Juliet Schor explica in articolul Every Nook and Cranny: The Dangerous Spread of Commercialized Culture aparut in Multinationl Monitor vol. 26, nr. 1/2005 modul in care corporatiile actioneaza cu agresivitate in scopul promovarii consumerismului si comercializarii a cat mai multe aspecte ale vietii.

Infectia corporatista, prezentare generala
„The rise of commercialism is an artifact of the growth of corporate power. It began as part of a political and ideological response by corporations to wage pressures, rising social expenditures, and the successes of the environmental and consumer movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Corporations fostered the anti-tax movement and support for corporate welfare, which helped create funding crises in state and local governments and schools, and made them more willing to carry commercial advertising. They promoted “free market” ideology, privatization and consumerism, while denigrating the public sphere. In the late 1970s, Mobil Oil began its decades-long advertising on the New York Times op-ed page, one example of a larger corporate effort to reverse a precipitous decline in public approval of corporations. They also became adept at manipulating the campaign finance system, and weaknesses in the federal bribery statute, to procure influence in governments at all levels.
Perhaps most importantly, the commercialization of government and culture and the growing importance of material acquisition and consumer lifestyles was hastened by the co-optation of potentially countervailing institutions, such as churches (papal visits have been sponsored by Pepsi, Federal Express and Mercedes-Benz), governments, schools, universities and nongovernmental organizations.
While advertising has long been an element in the circus of U.S. life, not until recently has it been recognized as having political or social merit. For nearly two centuries, advertising (lawyers call it commercial speech) was not protected by the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1942 that states could regulate commercial speech at will. But in 1976, the Court granted constitutional protection to commercial speech. Corporations have used this new right of speech to proliferate advertising into nearly every nook and cranny of life.”

Asadar, corporatiile s-au infiltrat si au pus mana pe institutiile cheie din societatea capitalista, precum scoli, biserici, guvern si organizatii non-guvernamentale, promovand advertisingul si, in subsidiar, consumerismul.

Infectia ajunge in scoli
„During most of the twentieth century, there was little advertising in schools. That changed in 1989, when Chris Whittle’s Channel One enticed schools to accept advertising, by offering to loan TV sets to classrooms. Each school day, Channel One features at least two minutes of ads, and 10 minutes of news, fluff, banter and quizzes. The program is shown to about 8 million children in 12,000 schools.
Soda, candy and fast food companies soon learned Channel One’s lesson of using financial incentives to gain access to schoolchildren. By 2000, 94 percent of high schools allowed the sale of soda, and 72 percent allowed sale of chocolate candy. Energy, candy, personal care products, even automobile manufacturers have entered the classroom with “sponsored educational materials” — that is, ads in the guise of free “curricula.” ”

In general, advertisingul a devenit din ce in ce ai axat pe publicul tanar si foarte tanar, calcand in picioare orice scrupul sau norma etica:

„For a time, institutions of childhood were relatively uncommercialized, as adults subscribed to the notion of childhood innocence, and the need to keep children from the “profane” commercial world. But what was once a trickle of advertising to children has become a flood. Corporations spend about $15 billion marketing to children in the United States each year, and by the mid-1990s, the average child was exposed to 40,000 TV ads annually.
Children have few legal protections from corporate marketers in the United States.
This contrasts strongly to the European Union, which has enacted restrictions. Norway and Sweden have banned television advertising to children under 12 years of age; in Italy, advertising during TV cartoons is illegal, and toy advertising is illegal in Greece between 7 AM and 11 PM. Advertising before and after children’s programs is banned in Austria.”

Advertisingul se raspandeste in ritm sufocant
„Advertisers have long relied on 30-second TV spots to deliver messages to mass audiences. During the 1990s, the impact of these ads began to drop off, in part because viewers simply clicked to different programs during ads. In response, many advertisers began to place ads elsewhere, leading to “ad creep” — the spread of ads throughout social space and cultural institutions. Whole new marketing sub-specialties developed, such as “place-based” advertising, which coerces captive viewers to watch video ads. Examples include ads before movies, ads on buses and trains in cities (Chicago, Milwaukee and Orlando), and CNN’s Airport channel. Video ads are also now common on ATMs, gas pumps, in convenience stores and doctors’ offices.
Another form of ad creep is “product placement,” in which advertisers pay to have their product included in movies, TV shows, museum exhibits, or other forms of media and culture. Product placement is thought to be more effective than the traditional 30-second ad because it sneaks by the viewer’s critical faculties. Product placement has recently occurred in novels, and children’s books. Some U.S. TV programs (American Idol, The Restaurant, The Apprentice) and movies (Minority Report, Cellular) are so full of product placement that they resemble infomercials. By contrast, many European nations, such as Austria, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom, ban or sharply restrict product placement on television.
Commercial use of the Internet was forbidden as recently as the early 1990s, and the first spam wasn’t sent until 1994. But the marketing industry quickly penetrated this sphere as well, and now 70 percent of all e-mail is spam, according to the spam filter firm Postini Inc. Pop-ups, pop-unders and ad-ware have become major annoyances for Internet users. Telemarketing became so unpopular that the corporate-friendly Federal Trade Commission established a National Do Not Call Registry, which has brought relief from telemarketing calls to 64 million households.
Even major cultural institutions have been harnessed by the advertising industry. During 2001-2002, the Smithsonian Institution, perhaps the most important U.S. cultural institution, established the General Motors Hall of Transportation and the Lockheed Martin Imax Theater. Following public opposition and Congressional action, the commercialization of the Smithsonian has largely been halted. In 2000, the Library of Congress hosted a giant celebration for Coca-Cola, essentially converting the nation’s most important library into a prop to sell soda pop.”

Advertisingul fiind o unealta indispensabila in raspandirea consumerismului, a inceput astfel sa fie implementat in cele mai diverse aspecte ale vietii publice si private. Reclamele sunt postate in locuri in care publicul este practic fortat sa le vada, fiindu-i din ce in ce mai greu sa le ignore: statii si geamuri de autobuze, gari, canale de televiziune cu circuit inchis precum cele din supermarketuri si aeroporturi, 70% din totuluri mailurilor trimise si primite consta in reclame, pana si Biblioteca Congresului din SUA, cea mai importanta biblioteca din Sate devenind o trambulina de lansare pentru produsele unei firme de bauturi carbo-gazoase.

Suferintele cauzate de infectia propagata de corporatii:
„Because the phenomenon of commercialism has become so ubiquitous, it is not surprising that its effects are as well. Perhaps most alarming has been the epidemic of marketing-related diseases afflicting people in the United States, and especially children, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and smoking-related illnesses. Each day, about 2,000 U.S. children begin to smoke, and about one-third of them will die from tobacco-related illnesses. Children are inundated with advertising for high calorie junk food and fast food, and, predictably, 15 percent of U.S. children aged 6 to 19 are now overweight.”

Deci printre efectele consumerismului cauzat de advertisingul sustinut de corporatii se numara epidemia prezenta de obezitate, diabet, boli legate de fumat. 2000 de copii doar din SUA se apuca zilnic de fumat, iar 15% dintre copiii de acolo sunt obezi „gratie” promovarii hranei nesanatoase tip junk si fast food.

„Excessive commercialism is also creating a more materialistic populace. In 2003, the annual UCLA survey of incoming college freshmen found that the number of students who said it was a very important or essential life goal to “develop a meaningful philosophy of life” fell to an all-time low of 39 percent, while succeeding financially has increased to a 13-year high, at 74 percent. High involvement in consumer culture has been show (by Schor) to be a significant cause of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and psychosomatic complaints in children, findings which parallel similar studies of materialism among teens and adults. Other impacts are more intangible. A 2004 poll by Yankelovich Partners, found that 61 percent of the U.S. public “feel that the amount of marketing and advertising is out of control,” and 65 percent “feel constantly bombarded with too much advertising and marketing.” Is advertising diminishing our sense of general well-being? Perhaps.”

Neajunsurile cauzate de campaniile de advertising includ sporirea importantei „valorilor” materiale, succesul financiar contand pentru 74% dintre elevi, pe cand a avea o filosofie sanatoasa asupra scopului in viata a scazut la 39%, ambele valori reprezentand recorduri negative. 61% din populatia SUA considera ca volumul de marketing si advertising e scapat de sub control iar 65% se simt bombardati pana la sufocare de mesajele publicitare.

„The purpose of most commercial advertising is to increase demand for a product. As John Kenneth Galbraith noted 40 years ago, the macro effect of advertising is to artificially boost the demand for private goods, thereby reducing the “demand” or support for unadvertised, public goods. The predictable result has been the backlash to taxes, and reduced provision of public goods and services.
This imbalance also affects the natural environment. The additional consumption created by the estimated $265 billion that the advertising industry will spend in 2004 will also yield more pollution, natural resource destruction, carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.”

E cat se poate de sugestiv ca se cheltuie anual in jur de 265 miliarde de dolari pe publicitate. Printre alte efecte ale acestei campanii se afla cresterea poluarii, distrugerea resurselor naturale, sporirea emisiilor de CO2 si intensificarea incalzirii globale.

„Finally, advertising has also contributed to a narrowing of the public discourse, as advertising-driven media grow ever more timid. Sometimes it seems as if we live in an echo chamber, a place where corporations speak and everyone else listens.
Governments at all levels have failed to address these impacts. That may be because the most insidious effect of commercialism is to undermine government integrity. As governments adopt commercial values, and are integrated into corporate marketing, they develop conflicts of interest that make them less likely to take stands against commercialism.”

Treptat, corporatiile devin din ce in ce mai puternice, punand stapanire pe institutii cheie precum guvernul. Cum putem lupta impotriva acestui pericol? Reducandu-ne la maxim volumul de cumparaturi, refuzand sa consumam atat pe cat isi doresc aceste creatii capitaliste numite corporatii. E clar ca pentru ele, consumul sporit al populatiei este vital, de aceea investesc de buna voie aproape 300 de miliarde $ anual in reclame. Sa nu ne lasam asadar amagiti si sa activam pentru o lume sanatoase, iesita din ghearele marilor capitalisti. O corporatie buna e o corporatie falimentara!