The mercantile democracy

Is government reactionary? Why isn’t government pro-active?

Finding cash to fund TV commercials is “the only thing that matters in American politics now”, Al Gore says. “The person who has the most money to run the most ads usually wins.”

But there’s something more important.

Gore continues, “…the average American watches television for four hours and 39 minutes a day. Astonishing, really. That’s why candidates spend 80% of their money on advertising campaigns.”

But wait, there’s more.

And he claimed the power of modern advertising had led to the ability to create demand for products “artificially”.

TV commercials lasting 30 seconds were “not thoughtful statements of policy” but were “usually emotive” and “well-tested” on focus groups, he said.

“Now you sometimes see, in extreme cases, advertising created before the product, and then the product is based on what looks as if it’s going to succeed.

“That same phenomenon has now happened to democracy,” he said, suggesting that too often, political parties made decisions based on reactions to their advertising campaigns.

Covered at the BBC

As we react to political advertising and news, popular strings and memes become marketing data for campaign policy and promoting candidates. Is this what our leaders do?