WHY WE BUY SO MUCH AND END UP WITH SO LITTLE


1895 words by Leo Rivers, the Garage House, Cottage Grove, Oregon, Saturday, February 16, 2013 11:00:32 PM



In a world where power comes from money you live in a money culture.


A money culture runs by transaction. Something of value passes from someone to someone else. In theory this is an exchange of one good for another good. But it doesn't work out like that.


If I want money from you I must have something that you want.


You can only want something if you have seen it. When you see something you are able to want it.


The commercial media, which is virtually all electronic communications by radio and television, has won the primary function because it is brought to you by corporations which are in business. And that is to move your money into their control. They want you to transfer your money to them.


How was this done? The commercial media carries advertisements for things that corporations the manufacturers goods and services. Those corporations hope you want what you see enough to give the money for them. When you see something in your environment, and television is everywhere in your environment both in TV and computer form, you can want it.


When you buy things that you see on TV or on your computer money is transferred to corporations that create goods and services. In turn corporations that create goods and services transfer money to the corporations that run commercial media.


But it is a simple formula. You can only want something that you have seen.


All commercial programming whether it is news broadcasting or sports or comedies or dramas on television or movies shown on television has only one purpose in the view of the Corporation that owns commercial media broadcasting. All programming exists only to draw your attention to the commercials. Why?


All commercial media broadcasting corporations are in business to make money. The only way they make money is by selling advertising. In other words, they don't care what it is you want to see, they just want to show you what ever it takes to get you to look at the TV so you also see the commercials and learn to want what is on the commercials.


I don't know how to make this clear or convincing enough. But a commercial media owned by a corporation is all about showing you things to buy. The only purpose programming serves is to make you look at the TV so you could want what you see there. The more popular the programming, the more money comes into the Corporation that owns the media that broadcasts it. Corporations of manufactured goods and services know that those programs that have the most people watching them are better locations for their commercials. The corporation that owns that media knows they can charge more for commercials on that programming because money comes into the corporations in direct proportion to people buying what they see.


And this brings us to the 1st real revelation and that is that, indeed, public culture is such that it learns to want whatever is shown on television or by product placement in movies. When we buy goods and services for our house or our kitchen we do so largely because we are spending our money created by our labor to buy things that we have been shown and taught to want. There is very little we own that we would've purchased had we not seen it on television or in a movie.


Our values are created around the things we are shown and convinced we should purchase.


Because most of what we buy is unnecessary, unlike the unprocessed staples of bread and fresh vegetables and shelter, there has to be a reason given us for wanting to buy such desirable consumer items.


The reason we are given is called “lifestyle”. We are to buy things to complete our lifestyle in the same way as we buy furniture to complete a house.


Lifestyle is another word for market share. In other words, certain products are marketed to certain audiences. By making the audiences aware of themselves as targets for sales persuasion a Corporation has to convince the buyer of their products that this is in their interest more than it is in someone else's interest.


This is done by appealing to people's fear and egotism.


Products are sold on the principle that without them you will be an insufficient person and a failure in your life.


Most personal-care products and fashion oriented clothing are purchased on the principle that people feel physically inadequate and want to look desirable in other people's eyes. In truth, people have to be taught that owning expensive products is the same thing as owning valuable products. But once they've learned that, they are easily convinced that not having them beings that their deficiencies as human beings will be all that people see when they look at them.


And when you are making someone feel better because you've already made them feel small you can then offer to make them feel like a superior person. Inadequacy and flattery go hand-in-hand like to thieves that work as pickpockets together, one bumps into you and says excuse me while the other stealthily remove your wallet.


You can only want what you have been shown. Major media corporations don't want you to see things that would make you not want their products.


Major media corporations in their news broadcasting naturally will not advertise that major corporations are paying for corrupt governments and other nations to get access to their labor and natural resources. They would not want to rest on the valid argument that using the American military to intimidate other nations and using America's wealth to corrupt and control other nations does indeed make for a better more gratuitous lifestyle for Americans. Most major corporations would think that people might balk at doing a harsh things to get their nice things. Deep down people will wink at those realities, but not if you rub it in their face by talking about that on news programs.


The truth is the American military works to benefit the American body politic and the American body politic is the vast corporate interests that fund both political parties as well as the news media through which they communicate to us.


It's not a plot. It is simply human nature to prefer to produce goods and services, even in their newsrooms, that encourage an environment of enthusiasm for American power overseas and an exceptional level of lifestyle here in the United States of America. Both that military and that lifestyle funnel vast amount of money into corporations.


And corporations are probably correct when they say that all the good things of American life come from them or their efforts. But that word good things actually refers to more expensively priced goods and services as are provided by American corporations.


It's a kind of circular thinking that isn't lying and most people really do confuse consumer values with having a valuable life. The American citizens have allowed themselves to be redefined as American consumers in political speech and in news broadcast speech.


We cooperate, not at all passively, with our seduction because deep down inside we are insecure and want our egos to be puffed up. That's not a plot, that's just being human.


And when you look at the content of media broadcasting, it is not just the self modulation [self-censorship] of the news broadcasting or the way politics is explained to you, it is also your entertainment.


Part of being flattered for the American people is to be told they are virtuous and upright. It is not considered okay to be sexual or violent. It is entirely natural for people to sometimes get out of hand or want some sexual activity. And it is entirely human for people to like to watch other people brawl and copulate, but it wouldn't flatter us to be more honest about this.


This is why when guns are fired on television there are very seldom close-up shots of people crying on the ground with blood pumping out of them and emptying their bladders. Guns are fired and people fall down. You see enjoying seeing the bullets go through people with guts coming out would be too much of an admission that enjoying some violence in your entertainment helps you blow off steam. If you read old mythologies or old Scriptures its full of sex and violence, people of always love that stuff, and they sat there listening with their children to it as well. And the kids loved it too.


But consider the female breast. In all respects it's one of the nicest things in nature. But it is still a breast. It is a circle with a dot in the middle. Women have fuller breasts than men, but simple line drawings of the men and women have circles with dots for both of them.


This is why women's nipples are taped on TV shows. By that I mean an ex-mate of electrical tape or Band-Aids is laid down on top of the nipple to flatten out in the brassiere, if they are wearing a brassiere. Because we are insincerely selling sex the way we are insincerely selling violence, women should have large breasts and wear tight clothes that reveal them, but nipples can't show.


In an odd way nipples are to fucking what gore and suffering is to violence.


But sex and violence draw your attention. And if your attention has been drawn to programming you will have your attention drawn to the commercials on that program.


So by getting rid of nipples and human suffering you can be both moral and upright on the one hand and get people's attention and hold it with sex and violence on the other.


And you know I think people know this. But I think they wink at it because they know that having sex and violence when it is obviously sex and violence means that you have to go out there and talk about it rather than pretend that's not the case.


But you can only want something that you are shown.


And you will only look at something if it draws your attention.


Sex and violence draws attention.


Having your attention they can show you something to buy.


And feeling bad about yourself or listening to flattery keeps you buying.


And nobody talking about this keeps it all going.


That is what American and global consumer culture is all about.


Television programming goes into kind of a horse race each broadcaster trying to show more sex and violence than the others so they get the most attention, but every so often in cycles it starts to become so obvious that people complain and they have to go back to being tame again.


And it starts all over.


You see people grow old and die in a short time. But corporations plan to live forever, and they plan to go on forever not looking at the consequences of this way of living on the future.


And no one's getting anything of real value.


When we are dead other people will take our toys and nobody will ever talk about us again.


 © Leo Rivers 2013