democrac

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Century of The Self
2002
BBC

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, changed our perception of the mind and its workings. The documentary explores the various ways that governments and corporations have utilized Freud’s theories. Freud and his nephew Edward Bernays, who was the first to use psychological techniques in public relations, are discussed in part one. His daughter Anna Freud, a pioneer of child psychology, is mentioned in part two. Wilhelm Reich, an opponent of Freud’s theories, is discussed in part three.

To many in politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly, the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?

Along these lines, The Century of the Self asks deeper questions about the roots and methods of consumerism and commodification and their implications. It also questions the modern way people see themselves, the attitudes to fashion, and superficiality.

The business and political worlds use psychological techniques to read, create and fulfil the desires of the public, and to make their products and speeches as pleasing as possible to consumers and voters. Curtis questions the intentions and origins of this relatively new approach to engaging the public.

Where once the political process was about engaging people’s rational, conscious minds, as well as facilitating their needs as a group, Stuart Ewen, a historian of public relations, argues that politicians now appeal to primitive impulses that have little bearing on issues outside the narrow self-interests of a consumer society.

The words of Paul Mazur, a leading Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers in 1927, are cited: “We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.

In part four the main subjects are Philip Gould, a political strategist, and Matthew Freud, a PR consultant and the great-grandson of Sigmund Freud. In the 1990s, they were instrumental to bringing the Democratic Party in the US and New Labour in the United Kingdom back into power through use of the focus group, originally invented by psychoanalysts employed by US corporations to allow consumers to express their feelings and needs, just as patients do in psychotherapy.

Curtis ends by saying that, "Although we feel we are free, in reality, we—like the politicians—have become the slaves of our own desires,” and compares Britain and America to ‘Democracity’, an exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair created by Edward Bernays.

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Master-Slave Dialectic in Capitalism and What to Do About It - Richard Wolff

Published on Apr 21, 2017

Economist Richard Wolff draws parallels between Hegel’s master/slave dialectic and modern-day worker/employer relationship. The resemblance is uncanny. How do you solve this problem? Professor Wolff explains.

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An excerpt from the “Economic Update”, a weekly program hosted by Richard Wolff.
Learn more: https://www.youtube.com/user/democrac…
Full episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT1Fj…

Richard David Wolff is an American Marxian economist, well known for his work on Marxian economics, economic methodology, and class analysis. He is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York. Wolff has also taught economics at Yale University, City University of New York, University of Utah, University of Paris I (Sorbonne), and The Brecht Forum in New York City.

In 1988 he co-founded the journal Rethinking Marxism. In 2010, Wolff published Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It, also released as a DVD. He released three new books in 2012: Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism, with David Barsamian (San Francisco: City Lights Books), Contending Economic Theories: Neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian, with Stephen Resnick (Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT University Press), and Democracy at Work (Chicago: Haymarket Books).

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Master-Slave Dialectic in Capitalism and What to Do About It - Richard Wolff

Published on 21 Apr 2017

Economist Richard Wolff draws parallels between Hegel’s master/slave dialectic and modern-day worker/employer relationship. The resemblance is uncanny. How do you solve this problem? Professor Wolff explains.

– Like, Comment, Share, Subscribe! –

An excerpt from the “Economic Update”, a weekly program hosted by Richard Wolff.
Learn more: https://www.youtube.com/user/democrac…
Full episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT1Fj…

Richard David Wolff is an American Marxian economist, well known for his work on Marxian economics, economic methodology, and class analysis. He is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York. Wolff has also taught economics at Yale University, City University of New York, University of Utah, University of Paris I (Sorbonne), and The Brecht Forum in New York City.

In 1988 he co-founded the journal Rethinking Marxism. In 2010, Wolff published Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It, also released as a DVD. He released three new books in 2012: Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism, with David Barsamian (San Francisco: City Lights Books), Contending Economic Theories: Neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian, with Stephen Resnick (Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT University Press), and Democracy at Work (Chicago: Haymarket Books).

The real world of American society is one which it is very misleading to call simply a democracy. Of course, it is in a sense a democracy, but it is one in which there are enormous inequities in the distribution of power and force. For example, the entire commercial and industrial system is in principle excluded from the democratic process, including everything that goes on within it. The national security bureaucracy, which has recently been called (accurately) the second largest planned economy in the world, is of course in principle subject to democratic procedures but in fact is not. The mass media reflect the distribution of power: everyone who has twenty million dollars is free to open a newspaper, and one knows what this means. Since they reflect the actual distribution of power, not the ideal one, they actually reflect only a very narrow band in the spectrum of possible opinion. In fact the range of possible opinion that reaches any mass audience in the United States is extremely narrow compared to any advanced industrial society except for the Soviet Union and its satellites. It is certainly far narrower than Western Europe.
—  Noam Chomsky