Thought Experiment: The Emperor’s New Shoes

Think of as many advertising slogans as you can in 60 seconds…

It is likely that you will be shocked by how many you remember.
However, what should surpass shock is the nature of the messages that corporations beam at us through every media orifice presented to them.

Nike is one of the most famous child labor benefactors but not the only one!

Nike is one of the most famous child labor benefactors, but not the only one!

If you parse out the affirmations from the jingoistic word play, you get something like this: “Want more”, or “You deserve more”, or “We have more” followed closely by “More is better” and “Buy more to save more” and finally, “It’s so easy” Its like guided meditation for psychotics.

If there is one constant in the universe, it is that convenience is a commodity which sells itself, is rarely convenient, and never free.  We need only consider the human and animal cost of the garment and fast food industries to understand the scale of the swindle. And that’s the thing: Most of us do!

It is established fact, that without the constant cattle prodding by advertisers, we would not buy every trivial, wasteful, or soon to be obsolete product they put in front of us.  Our natural aversion to being manipulated against our own self-interest would stymie the whole scheme. It might even be enough to overturn the entire consumerist ecosystem and would stop the many from stuffing their money into the velvety pockets of the rich and the few.
Here again, even the most susceptible among us to suggestion can sense the bait and switch. People know instinctively that they are following the tail in front of them to their mutual destruction. Still they continue to chase the icecream truck for the same reasons a drug users do, they are addicted.  This is demonstrated by the fact that if you told people that their government was funded by, and thus allowed, drug pushers into their schools, there would be mass rioting. Elected officials would cower in public disgrace and impeachment while pushers scurried for cover or looked out from behind bars.
The conflict of interest in that example is clear, but is lost on the general public when you replace drug dealer the mass marketing campaigns of Corporations. Yet, drug pushers create by comparison a relatively small market of repeat customers. This is not a false equivalency; you need only look at the lucrative complicity between business and government and the fact that there is a direct and well documented link between successful political campaigns and the business interests who fund them. Positive value conflation, artful truth dodging and claimed transparency misdirection are so prevalent as to positively shred the rights of consumers to know what they are buying.  Remember, the only objective of the Capitalist system is to fuel and maintain the needs of Business, which in turn supplies and encourages Consumerism which, by it’s very name, is simply a philosophy of consumption; otherwise it would be called Conservationism.
Which would hurt nobody.

Consumerism-Really
It is for these reasons that companies  devote a truly obscene amount of money to make you forget that fact ~ among others.
According to a list compiled by Business Insider, there are at least 36 companies in the US alone who each spend more than $1 Billion a year to convince you to buy, buy, buy! Companies like Proctor & Gamble who spent $5 billion on ads in 2013 alone; followed by AT&T($2.91B), General Motors($2.15B) and L’Oreal who spent $2.34 Billion to make women feel unattractive without them. How much better could that money be spent on remedying the truth of poverty and disease than on spinning it to divert accountability for the corporate and political causes of same.

It is a fact of human nature that what makes a person happy as a child, is typically not that far off from what makes a person happy as an adult. A loving family, a sense of belonging, supportive community, physical security and affection, laughter, play time, story time, creative time, food, shelter and a connection with nature. Only two of these can be bought and both could be grown or built by the people who need them. And all without depleting and poisoning the environment, or slipping on the debt harness and running in place for 30 plus years while our livelihood is neatly amortized and given away with interest.

gold plated nikes_No ~there is little to no profit in providing for real human happiness (think about that), so corporations have rebranded, prepackaged and franchised what used to be nominally called a “Life”. Now a multi-trillion dollar a year illusion known as the: “Modern Lifestyle”. What is better than selling you shoes? Selling you an NBA ball player’s 8-figure “Lifestyle”.   Let’s face it, anyone can sell you a pair of sneakers, but only Nike can pass off the sweat of a child laborer as bona fide LeBron James success sweat. And since well heeled fantasies are far more difficult to maintain; you will likely need many more pairs of shoes than you can possibly wear ~ just to outpace the truth.

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