Posts Tagged ‘ Capitalism ’

Politics of PR; PR for Politics?

Since I’m working/looking for a new job/trying to graduate/doing my best to be a decent human being, I don’t often get the opportunity to discuss politics with academics whom I respect, so today’s chat with a former professor was a welcome deviation from the norm. Though much of the conversation revolved around our respective life activities (and thus wouldn’t be interesting to Dear Reader), there was one thing mentioned which I think is a good question for American society at-large.

In recounting the various ways in which the financial meltdown and subsequent government actions were framed in the “relevant” discourses (i.e., the media and the 2008/2010 political campaigns), I opined that those who support(ed) drastic measures to ensure (admittedly relative) stability have utterly lost the public relations battle to the reactionaries who oppose(d) such actions. To this my professor friend agreed and added that, for better or worse, much of our politics and discourse in this country often breaks down to public relations and marketing. It is less about who can best lead us into tomorrow, and rather about who can best appeal to our fleeting consumer sensibilities.

Yes, my friend is an avowed Marxist philosopher in a society that venerates anything “market-based.” But I do not believe that undermines his critique. In fact, I rather think it supports such a conclusion – however broad it may be – because our reverence for the system too often induces us to be uncritical of the system.

But for the time being, the system looks like it’s here to stay. So, the question I now pose is this: how can we use the system to reform or recreate the system? Can the tools of marketing and public relations be appropriated for a higher purpose than merely electing candidates who reflect the “public” opinion or giving power and influence to those who pander to our fears and anxieties?

Capitalism ≠ Society

I really should’ve finished reading the article I referenced in my last post, because I would’ve had a lot more to say. Also from Dr. Rand Paul:

Capitalism is freedom, it means the freedom to voluntarily exchange goods, and retain the fruits of your labor.

Really? I can understand that as an economic system; but as a means for social cohesion, welllll …

This implies that some forms of labor are inherently more valuable (from a monetary sense) than others. You did your personal job, so why should anyone else get to share in the rewards? Working the McDonald’s line provides less of an economic boost than stock trading, so you therefore deserve to make one-tenth of what he’s making. And forget redistribution – you are where you are for a reason, and you’re just going to have to live with it.

Hmmm, anybody remember Calvinism?

These are not new, revolutionary ideas. And they will not solve our problems. Given the regressive nature of the Tea Party ideals currently being lauded, I expect that they will, in the long run, do far more harm than good.