The rich were once regarded as being better people, that explained
why they were rich. For 200 years we have been struggling with
finding a replacement for this belief. Even the sports rich
can not claim to deserve it because they are so much better
at what they do, since the size of their take is determined
by advertising. So here we find it again, but this time as a
moral point of exchange.
At the moment advertising sits at the intersection of both our
political system of exchange and our commercial one. In the
former, money flows into the systems through campaign contributions
and flows out through campaign expenditures, the bulk of which
is for advertising. As more direct forms of influence are curtailed,
this flow becomes crucial for the insertion of influence into
commerce, the waxing and waning of huge corporate fortunes as
a function of the presence of a favorable or unfavorable environment
for advertising has raised the question of stability. The old
automobile highway was not financed by billboards, but the mileage
on the current information highway is being paid for other than
by income from its own goods and services.
In this version of things, in a century the practice of advertising
has moved from an ancillary function of selling to the financier
of huge systems of exchange.
together, the circulation of messages, the circulation of goods,
and the circulation of government officers [elections], all
run through advertising. If we traveled to a simpler society
and found that all marriages, all battles and all cures run
through a single medicine, person or elder, it would surely
be a point of focus for anyone trying to understand that society.
Our situation seems similarly important, but the conversation
is difficult to find.
are we to make of this?