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Writing up a storm?

posted 11 Aug 2011, 05:54 by Jane Vigus   [ updated 11 Aug 2011, 06:33 ]

Life’s a riot - and it’s my fault.

As a marketing professional my role in the recent looting and rioting is clear. It’s my job as a copywriter to increase demand, publicise the latest product, persuade consumers to upgrade long before the old product is worn out, sell my client’s services, build their brand and increase the profits for their shareholders.

The currency of this marketing effort is desire and fear. My job is to tap into people’s innate greed and anxiety and sell them products and services that will feed the one and assuage the other.  My job is to convince people to consume and keep consuming. My means of communication is often digital and social media.

Of course this is how capitalism works. Keep consuming even if you have to borrow money to do it  - keep on buying new things to keep the economy turning over, upgrade at every opportunity, spend more in the high street to keep businesses going and keep people employed so they can earn the money to buy more stuff. We all do it - if we didn’t the economy would collapse and we’d soon be out of a job.

But the wealth created by this consumer merry go round is not shared around in any kind of equitable way.  The rich get richer and flaunt it, the poor get relatively poorer and resent it.

Meanwhile services and benefits to the poorest are cut, jobs are lost and scarce to find even for the qualified and prices for food and fuel are soaring.  Meanwhile young people from poor underprivileged backgrounds are disillusioned, disenfranchised and financially excluded from our wonderful world of consumerism, yet still surrounded by messages to consume.

What happens in a divided consumerist society where desire for materials goods is fueled on a daily basis?

Well this week the cat of desire jumped out of the bag and met up on a street corner with the black dog of ‘no one likes us we don’t care’ - arranged via social media - and this is what happened in my home town…


© Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence



What happens next in a society built on the shifting sands of consumerism, and in a world where the resources of a beautiful planet are unthinkingly devoured by human desire at an ever-faster rate (with only a passing nod at the need to reuse and recycle) is anybody’s guess. We still have to do our jobs, pay our bills, feed our families but we certainly can’t go on much longer burying our heads in that sand and we all need to take our share of the responsibility.