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The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power - Case Study Example

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The case study "The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power" states that traditional economics put consumers at the forefront of modern society and all economic activity surrounds around consumers. The traditional view, therefore, holds that the consumers have wanted to be met by the businesses…
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The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power
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Download file to see previous pages It is stated that the redefining of the means of production as well as the production of luxury goods, the overall orientation of the society has changed a lot. Traditionally economics measures the society’s well being through GDP however, it also ignores the personal and social well beings of the individuals. The alternative views, however, do suggest that economies rather than serving the consumers are actually serving the large corporations. Corporations are not just the entities that fulfill the needs of the consumers but rather the wants of the consumers are created by the corporations so that they can profit from them. By limiting the brands available to the public, corporations, however, limit the choices available to the consumers hence forcing them to consume their products. This paper will basically argue and debate two opposing views of whether consumers are in control while making their choices or their choices can be reshaped through advertising and other channels which can ultimately create a culture that forces consumers to spend. Markets and Consumers Traditional economics focuses on the consumers as a rational individual capable of making decisions based upon rationality. This view therefore also outlines that the choices of the consumers are independent and cannot be influenced. As such corporations, as well as advertising, can only help the consumers to make better choices. This view, therefore, outlines that the demands and choices of the consumers are internally generated and the markets can only support the consumers and firms to interact with each other to fulfill these internally generated needs and wants of the consumers. In a market-based economy, the consumer is considered as a king and based upon the notion of consumer sovereignty the decisions on production are made. As such this view, therefore, outlines that the demands and supply for the goods and services are primarily driven by the consumer choices with little role or influence from the external actors such as firms and advertising. The role of the firms, therefore, is just limited to providing what a well informed and rational consumer wants. JK Galbraith in his phenomenal book, The Affluent Society, however, maintained that it is not always the case that the consumer choices or demands are internally generated. Galbraith, therefore, believes that these demands and wants have been created through the advertising and what he called machinery for consumer demand creation. Galbraith, therefore, went on to suggest that such extravagant spending by the consumers whose choices are largely driven by the advertising put the burden on public spending and investment. (Galbraith, 1998)  How corporations affect our choices Galbraith’s analysis suggested that the consumer choices may not be necessarily internally generated as the Post War US economy progressed in a manner that gave enormous power to the corporations. He also argued that the mechanics of consumer demand and supply are not just driven by the consumers but by the long term planning by the large corporations also. According to him, large as well as small firms do not just work as instruments to provide what well-informed consumers want but rather through advertising they can create the demands. ( Galbraith, 1971)  This view is radically different from the conventional wisdom in economics because it exposes the vulnerabilities of the assumption of perfect markets. Market-based economics works on the basis of the assumption that the markets are perfect with each participant having perfect information about the market. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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