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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The free market oppression

In our relationship with the State, we are only concerned about our well-being and interests as individuals. Basically, we would not want an oppressive State, a State which transgresses our basic rights with impunity.

We would then make conclusions in respect of our relationship with the State. This is the nature of the oft-repeated social contract between us and the State. Basically, we, as individuals, agree to surrender some of our rights to the State in exchange for collective benefits which the State promises to bring to the society as a whole.

However, the advent of capitalism and the free market creates another machination for oppression, namely, what I would term as the “free market oppression.” Assisting the free market oppression is mass-marketing, a free market tool made far easier, cheaper and a lot more efficient by the internet.

Unlike State-sponsored oppression, which often operates through physical forces (such that is taking place in Syria currently), free market oppression is far more sophisticated and sublime. Its aim is not dissimilar to the aim of the State-sponsored oppression, namely, subjugation. However, while the latter’s objective is to physically subjugate the citizens, the former’s aim is to subjugate the mind of the consumers.

Mass-marketing is aimed at creating a state of mind within a susceptible target group. Susceptibility is the exploitation agent. If susceptibility does not exist, mass-marketing would aim to create one. That it does insidiously, subliminally and with lasting effectiveness. It is like the hypnotiser asking his subject to look at the pendulum moving from side to side until, at a snap of the fingers, the subject is hypnotised.

The danger with free market oppression is the fact that none of us realise that it is happening. It takes place every second of the day, on televisions, YouTube, websites, newspapers, magazines, billboards and every kind of mass-media imaginable. And they are all legal, of course. In fact, the State earns money out of it!

Capitalism and the free market are of course all about having the luxury of choices and the right to choose. That is in turn tied up to free will and its exercise. But have we ever stopped and asked how free our will is at the hand of capitalism and the free market? Or whether the free market has grown so big and powerful that it has managed to create a hologram of perceived reality that controls our mind and lead us to nowhere but to a lifestyle which is dictated not by our free will, but by that hologram?

In other word, are we all living in a reality administered by capitalism and the free market? Ironically, by taking part in this hologram-ed reality, we continue to feed that administered reality, giving it more power over us, which in turn are used to tighten its grip on us. And the cycle goes on, subliminally, as we continue to live hypnotically, almost happily ever after, when in actual fact we are just part of a vicious and oppressive mind-regime.

Karl Lagerfeld, that fashion scion, a true blue free market royalty, recently branded Adele as “too fat.” Of course Adele hits back saying something to the effect that she is what she is and she doesn’t want to be “some skinny mini with my tits out.”[i]

Now, imagine the world without mass marketing. Fat could be the norm of beauty for all we know. Or imagine what would happen had mass marketing fed all of us that fat is beautiful. Wouldn’t everybody in the world be trying to be fat by now? Go to GNC and I am sure lining its shelves would be various powders and herbs and what-nots which could make all of us go fat rather than slimming tea.

Adele had a good retort. She was brave. But Adele is just like every other woman who has nowhere else to live in other than this free market hologram. And that hologram is pretty oppressive to people like her, namely those who are deemed fat, and thus, ugly. Latest, Adele is now on diet and as of to date, she has lost approximately 19 kgs![ii]

One of the most oppressive, if not the most oppressive, free market hologram in Malaysia nowadays is targeted at young girls. And that is, being dark is unattractive or just plain ugly. You therefore need this, a whitening cream. Use that cream and the boy whom you like and who has been ignoring you will now notice you in no time. Remember the tv advert showing the slightly dark girl at the ticket counter admiring a boy who of course did not notice her?

That is free market oppression of the worst kind. Just imagine growing up with insecurities caused by the colour of your skin.

The State is governed, chiefly, by the Federal Constitution. It among others states that there shall be no discrimination on the ground of race, religion or gender.[iii]

Capitalism and the free market do not have a Constitution. It does not have etiquette rules (not in Malaysia, at least). It transgresses us in every possible way every second of the day. And unlike the State, where we have a general election every 5 years or so, we do not get to vote to choose the market we would like to have.

Now, a State without election and which oppresses is called despotism. What then do we call the free market?


[i] Mail Online – 10th February 2012

[ii] http://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/diet/success_story/adele.htm

[iii] Article 8

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

in free market it's free to oppress and desist, only barrier is mindset

Charles F. Moreira said...

Free market has a tendency to gravitate towards monopoly and we can see that happening all the time in all industries, including in the information technology and Internet industry, where what began as a galaxy of competing players, gradually gravitated to a handful of players with one dominant player.

Cases in point - Microsoft on end-user PCs, Google among search engines, Facebook among social networks, Amazon in online bookstores, etc.

UP41 said...

Yes. "Free market +Capitalism " has made a handful ( some said 4 only ) companies control the world supply of food mainly the grains, cooking oil and seeds.

There are only few petroliem companies in the world. Will or do they "dictate" the prices & surpress alternative energy devlopment ?????

Anonymous said...

It's too easy to claimed that 'free market + capitalism lead to monopoly'!

What happens to the inherent requirement of participation of the people within free market & capitalism?

Many a times, it's the u-do-it-I-enjoy attitude of the majority of the masses that inspires a few out-of-box thinkers to exploit this human tendency that eventually leads to 'monopoly'!

So blame the idea of capitalism & free market?

That's a easy way out for benefit-seekers, who actually contributing null meaningful solid works, except, perhaps rhetoric rants!

Remember, u r part of the problem, not the solution if u r NOT willing to sacrifice & contribute in whatever ways u can.

See-no-action-&-yet-rant has becomes the hallmark of the centuary!

U r just a wanker, who knows wordy complaints is the best way to minimise one's guilt of knowing not willingly contributing for the major good, by giving up a little bit of yr useless ranting time.

That's why u deserve what u get!

art harun said...

Waaah...Anon @ 19 April 2012 09:32,

Why so angry? hahah...relaks la.

u-en said...

Ah, but what happens when the market also dictates the means and modes of opposition to itself? i.e. when resistance is itself a hologrammed simulacrum created by the tyranny to entrap dissidents in an exchange dictated by the system and which serves only to strengthen the system?

Eheheheh.

Hafiz Noor Shams said...

Is it really oppression, or is it that you disagree with the lifestyle of those who buy the mass marketing?

I find it hard to call it oppression just because somebody buys the mass marketing. "Buying the mind", so to speak, is always an art of persuasion and such act is not exclusive to society with free market institutions.

In less free society, it's called propaganda. Different name, same effect. If a person buys a particular propaganda it's not oppression. It would be oppression if other "propaganda" is prevented from being aired in favor or a particular propaganda. What makes the free market's mass marketing/propaganda not oppressive is that a particular mass marketing campaign competes with the other. It’s never favored through coercion.

If truly we take the free market mass marketing as the architect of a facade we live in which you call the hologram, then what exactly would a truly free environment be?

An environment of no marketing? An environment where the art of persuasion is banned? Should we become less free so that the free market wouldn't imprison our mind?

On Adele, sure, the pressure on women with respect to beauty is suffocating but this pressure would exist even without the free market. It's just bias/preference in society that would exist with or without the free market.