Thursday, April 26, 2012

“That general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.” – Sun Tzu

CNN remains funny – now they have a news story about a cow that went to a McDonald’s drive-thru.


A great point to add to my previous post is the infamous Target scandal.

Yes, the one where a Target employee revealed that their market research reveals pregnant customers sometimes before the customers reveal it to others by tracking their purchases made in Target. This made them create personalized advertisement packages to maximize sales. It is yet another example of how corporations can persuade people into consumption targeted in the corporations’ favour. People are powerless.

Now one may argue that instead of talking about democracy, I’ve been rambling about capitalism and drawing an equals sign. I assure you, this is not the case.

Democracy is demos kratos – people’s power. This means that they are governed by a body of people they elect as their representatives. The upshot of which, is that politicians, whose views are those of the people, gain power to enforce policies that people want. The whole idea behind effectiveness is spiritus mundi – a hive mind of the people, basically the belief that while an individual can make mistakes, a society as a whole is nearly infallible. While it is logical that a single person’s mistake does not echo as much in a crowd as when he is alone in power. However, the belief that a large groups of people are not wrong and cannot orchestrate their own demise is, put quite bluntly, hogwash. Alas, all there is to do now is to agree with Mr Churchill – democracy is indeed a bad form of government, but it is the best that has been tried so far.

One of the main problems with democracy is that not everyone agrees with any given claim, decision, or policy. This causes unrest at every step. After all, if all people agreed on the same, it would no longer be democracy, it would be unification. And even that has its problems – if everyone were to think alike, what would happen to creative culture, what would happen to science? If everyone thinks of the same joke, then there will be nobody to tell it to. If everyone creates the same work of art, there will be nobody to receive credit for it. If everyone liked the same fashion, everyone would dress up as clones. And if everyone really thought alike, there would be no scientists – after all, they would be equal to a street bum, thinking no more than that bum. The fact that there would perhaps not be any bums either, is a minor nuisance. I’d say there are bums in every society, I’d say they are an inevitable product of the existence of society.

A product of a democratic society is the free market – free at first. By forcing corporations compete against each other for market share, the public benefits most. It forces the corporations to seek effectiveness and keep the prices low. This is why people think it is a fine idea and put it into practice. However, the result of a free market is the emergence of market leaders. And people are not really fond of some markets being lead by large corporations like Microsoft or Apple. Sure, there are many people who like the aforementioned market leaders, otherwise they would no longer be the market leaders. But they do create a threat to free market – a market leader has an established position as part of people’s lives, something they have grown accustomed to. As such, they have the power to chance people’s habits in their favour. By introducing new gadgets to the old ones, a market leader can easily force its competition to give up. After all, the market leader as a rule has more resources at its disposal than smaller companies. Sure, the smaller companies can survive as some niche product providers, but tackling a market leader is a task a little too difficult to undertake. Hence market monopolies are a result of democracy, may the monopolies be shared by two or three enterprises or not. With two corporations having the monopoly, it becomes a lot simpler to avoid any anti-monopoly laws and policies. And once those monopolies are born, it becomes near-impossible for people to affect economic democracy by the use of targeted consumption.

With a little bit of luck, the corporations sharing a monopoly continue to compete against each other, as opposed to friendly unofficial cooperation, unofficial to avoid any cartel accusations.

“O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible; and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands.” – Sun Tzu (“Art of War”)

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