...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Marketing as Religion.

A little overstatement for effect. In the history of the world, no country has developed and embraced marketing as America has. And it worked so well, this mercantile philosophy, that we became the most commercially successful society on the planet. Because it's worked so well, and because it can be seen as a kind of magic, we understandably felt we had to apply it to every arena of human endeavor.

Marketing is our true state religion.

But our devotion has produced a few problems which we can't blame on Satan. The theology of marketing has not perfected our politics. Free-market doctrine has not beatified the practice of medicine, nor ameliorated its cost, nor opened it to all.

The marketers, and their playmates, the advertising agencies, are talented people. In America, most of the potential novelists, poets, composers, painters, and filmmakers produce advertising messages, with the help of most of the actors, dancers, musicians, and animators. It's a wonder that we have such a lively arts scene, most of which we don't see or hear about, because their product isn't designed to reach a broad audience, except to upset it.

I believe marketing is the wrong doctrine to apply to politics and medicine. I don't know if it's too late to undo the damage we've done to these institutions. But I believe it's worth a try. Which is what this blog is about.

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