About Me

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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What we did not know about the Hidden Hand of the Marketplace

Adam Smith, a professor of Ethics, coined the phrase "the hidden hand of the marketplace" to explain how the price for goods was set. He had observed that the activities of the wealthy were subsidized by the State, while the middle and lower classes were hardly supported at all in their activities, many of which were suppressed. THE WEALTH OF NATIONS. Anyway, the West and East India Trading Company has come a long way since 1776.

While Adam Smith did not actually invent "capitalism" or "socialism", and he did not advocate either a "free" market nor a "regulated" one, his description of the dynamics of human interaction has stood the test of Aristotles' unities -- time, place and action. And it appears now that we will always have both competition and paternalism, and both have their place. However, Adam Smith did not foresee the toll which Marketing would charge on the Market. Today, Marketing is an unrelenting, widespread, brilliant, and ruthless force. And it will have its way with all Sources of information -- it will corrupt the Government purse, violate the trust of Academia, and suck the will out of the Professions -- all on the way to influencing the mass consumer.

For example, Enron produced no product and offered no service, and yet it became the seventh largest corporate enterprise in the United States -- it positioned itself as a "marketing" entity, buying paper choses, artfully driving up the price, and then on the sale of the same thing at a higher price, claiming a "profit" for itself. Or rather, for its inner circle of pirates.

Did any economist remark the rapid, widespread and illegitimate electrical power market distortion? Did a single corporate lawyer report this violation of legal principle -- outright deception, fictitious partnering with fictitious off-shore entities, and fraud are all crimes the lawyers knew were occurring. Did a single government regulatory body -- across municipal, State, and Federal jurisdictions -- strip the pirates of their booty? The demise of Enron occurred as a result of the use of its "cover" to steal, and it collapsed internally. It even sought the protection of "bankruptcy" proceedings -- in other words, using legal cover and pretensions to the very end, to hide its own 60 billion-dollar fraud.

Marketing is wonderful. However, it is no longer "the music man" trumpeting instruments to keep the kids out of pool halls. Now it is bent and smart. Advertising is now a nasty piece of work devoted to taking the "choice" out of choice. For example, the Drug Industry: I used to love Merck. Just think of all those drugs they make that reduce our pain and heal our afflictions. Unfortunately, as the Vioxx litigation has brought to light, the Big Drug companies devote more billions to marketing than they do to developing new drugs. The "new drugs" they are making are not helping us -- they are killing us. Their new drugs are mostly for the side-effects their old drugs are giving us. The best "cough medicine" on the billion-dollar market, provides a little less help than a glass of water for a child with a cold.

So I am just getting to this Prediction: As Marketing takes over the Web, which it is and will, it will actively seek to prevent true facts from emerging. Google anything you want, the sites that will pop up are the ones that pay Google. Search engines will be bought and paid for as marketing tools. Nothing will survive which does not profit someone. This is not about food and shelter, this is about power.