Comparing Capitalism & ParEcon

Comparing Capitalism & ParEcon Advertising

What role does advertising play in an economy, and how much is there? Many variables affect advertising — including motivations for production and incentives to win market share. This page compares Capitalism and Parecon regarding advertising.

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1950s Pepsi-Cola billboard


“Family Group” by Henry Moore

Introducing Capitalist

In a capitalist economy, each firm generates profits for its owner only by virtue of commanding a large, preferably largest, market share in its domain. This can be accomplished in various ways. One is by having what is actually a superior product. But even in that case audiences must come to realize the superiority. This is the role of advertising — the conveyance of “information” with the intent of getting recipients to buy particular products.

In capitalism advertising is ubiquitous. Indeed, once we realize that even a better product will fall to superior advertising, it becomes clear that advertising is easily as important as the product itself. Without the best product you may well capture the largest market share. Without the best advertising, you have no chance.

But if one party employs advertising that manipulates, lies, employs all kinds of nonsensical inuendo, and otherwise tries to extort or extoll purchases by means that transcend the actual qualities of the product in question, and it works, then everyone in that field must do likewise or suffer the consequences.



Introducing ParEcon

In a parecon, no firm has any interest in winning market share other than in the sense of trying to actually meet real needs. No one wants to produce something that people in turn buy do to manipulation, false needs, created needs, etc.

The only “advertising” is informational communication of the actual attributes of products, as needed to facilitate people finding what they want and avoiding what they don’t want.

Evaluating Capitalist Advertising

Capitalist advertising overwhelmingly wastes creative talents and productive assets in a paroxysm of communication that conveys few useful insights to the public and in no way enhances their consumption prospects beyond what would exist had every firm simply told the truth about their products in an inexpensive manner. Such excessive advertising is waste from the perspective of social well being and creative application of talents. It is quite sensible, however, from the point of view of each individual firm compelled by competition to engage in ad making lest it be left for dead by others who engage in ad making.








Evaluating ParEcon Advertising

For purposes of communicating product availabilities and attributes to consumers so that they might best utilize their income for their pleasures and other real gains, parecon advertising is perfectly appropriate.

For purposes of winning the widest possible number of buyers of goods, it is quite ill conceived. But, as no one has the latter motivation in a parecon, this failing is, in fact, just another virtue.

 Next Entry: Comparing Regarding Ecology


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