Friday, September 18, 2009

The consent of the governed...to accept capitalism

Chomsky very usefully talks about the consent of the governed to accept the actions of the government with regards to foreign policy, saying that this consent has to be engineered through the media and other propaganda outlets. What's less commented on is that the media also provides the engineering of consent of folks to accept capitalism as an economic system. There are rarely shows that offer characters that even mildly question whether things in society are just or not. Rich and poor do not get discussed on regular non-news television. Instead, what we see are usually people in glamorous upper class lives living those lives with no commentary on the idea that all of this is abnormal compared to normal life, or that folks are suffering with situations that the people who the characters correspond with will most likely never know about. Folks working hard and yet being unable to find jobs in their field after college because they don't have connections, because they grew up without access to the world that could give them connections, will not be featured. Things happening to folks that they didn't cause themselves, but that are caused by bigger social phenomenon will never be dealt with. Instead, just a bunch of happy people for whom the system works will be covered. This goes far towards selling people capitalism as a viable economic system. If the media reflected a little bit of the other reality the natives might get restless, but we can depend on our corporate masters never to let that stuff impact on our personal TV fed illusions.

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