Economic Livelihood and Willful Blindness, Industry and Information

Light reading on public and private discourse and the difficulty of determining bias when one’s job or lifestyle dictates that s/he not determine bias.


 An Old Report that is Nonetheless Instructive

In 1978, the Office of Consumer Education commissioned a report to find out exactly how advertising and marketing were affecting US society. The result was a study entitled Impact of Advertising: Implications for Consumer Education by Zena Cook et al, and the report was interesting because of what it found but also in how it framed the discussion in terms of “consumer sovereignty,” or the rights of consumers to have their wants and needs respected by the market.  The intention was, in fitting with the economic theory of supply and demand, that consumer needs and wants would determine what the market produced, instead of the other way around.  Implicit in this idea, as a theme running through the report, is that consumers need to be accurately informed about the choices confronting them.  The study’s authors note frankly, “Consumers are today faced with…

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