Sunday, August 12, 2007

Engineering Consumerism

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The following is a documentary about mastermind Edward Bernays (1891-1995), the grand-daddy of mass manipulation and propaganda. It shows a glaring exposé of his systematic manufacture of a brand new avenue for the benefit of corporate gain by shamelessly exploiting the principles of psychology and behavioral science. (Via Google Video)

Synopsis of Episode

In the 1920s Bernays was hired by the American Tobacco Company to break the existing taboo against women smoking in public. In a bold move he made an announcement to the press that the female women's-rights marchers in the New York City parade would light so-called 'Torches of Freedom'. Then, on his signal, a group of young models, hired for maximum effect, lit Lucky Strike cigarettes in front of the eager photographers. Predictably, from this moment on, it was considered 'chic' for women to smoke in public which increased cigarette sales exponentially.



Engineering Consent - Bernays postulated: "If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?" He went on to prove his point in the most skillful and amoral of ways.
Not surprisingly, one of his biggest fans was Hitler's propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels.



[Click to see more film footage at AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES]




[Related: The Corporation]


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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Interesting. Despite the destruction wrought by this fellow's work, you have to be in awe of his ability to craft an application out of a theories developed from observations made in an entirely different world. But then again, maybe its like being in awe of those who developed chemical weapons.

Vincent Russo said...

Fascinating clip, though I wonder if Bernays ever reflected on and regretted the consequences of his advertising genius: both for the thousands of women who would take his bait and get hooked on smoking only to lose their lives for their habit, and for teaching and influencing Dr. Goebbels how to sell fascism, anti-semitism and state sponsored murder to an entire nation. Seems like a dubious honor to me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the helpful information. Hope to hear more from you.

control valves said...

I believe construction of such projects requires knowledge of engineering and management principles and business procedures, economics, and human behavior.

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