Saturday, 6 November 2010

Profit; Democracy

A key point made by Jacque Fresco and others is that companies/corporations have a legal duty to maximise profit. In the 1920s productivity had become so high that it would have been possible to increase wages and reduce working hours and thus have a higher standard of living, but this would have been at the expense of profit. To 'solve' this problem, consumerism was developed, using advertising to persuade us to buy the stuff that was being produced, so that profit could be maintained.

Early advertising was product centred - it was informative about the product, but as it developed, it started more and more to tap into actual human desires, by depicting healthy, happy, leisured people using the product being sold, or depicted alongside the product at advertisement level. Thus the psychology is that the product the viewer sees depicted will bring, or help bring, the health and contentment that is portrayed by the people in the advert.

If companies and corporations were legally bound to maximise the fulfillment of human need, things would look very different - not to say better, so why did profit win out - it seems illogical?

Well, those in positions of power did not want ordinary people to have more leisure time as a benefit of increased productivity, as this would give them time to think, become better educated, and potentially threaten the positions of the rich/powerful. This would lead towards true democracy, instead of the limited, circumscribed democracy that we have now, which works on the basis that ordinary people should not directly participate in decision making as they are insufficiently intelligent/educated to do so meaningfully. Many critics of the current system would of course point out that the best education is reserved for those with wealth to pay for it and therefore the people in power are creating the problem that the limitation on democracy is apparently aimed at solving.

TVP/TZM does not take such a high view of democracy as some critics of our current system do. They do see education as extremely important, and done properly, education would help people to make informed decisions, thus removing one of the objections to untrammelled democracy. But as Peter Joseph points out, nature is not a democracy: there is no point voting against an earthquake. TVP/TZM argues that opinion is pretty much meaningless in the face of scientifically acquired knowledge. Expansion of that idea is for another posting.

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