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Market Demand

April 23, 2008

Market Demand[1]


Subliminal messages are spoken of in relation to manipulating and changing or managing values and behavior.  Audio and video recordings have often been the center of this debate.  Baudrillard’s summary statement about Galbraith (P. 39) addresses a premise “it is clear that the whole economic and psychosociological apparatus of market and motivation research … exists only to generate a demand for further market opportunities”.  Earlier discussions we have had indicate the potential abuse of poll data and market studies.  Here we see the concept that Galbraith speaks of in the “revised sequence” of the market (Baudrillard 1988:38).  Galbraith characterizes the revised sequence as shifting the definition of “need” or “reason” to purchase from the locus of the mind or “self” determined need of the purchaser to the directed concept of need which is constructed by the producer of goods and service.  He calls this a total dictatorship of the producing sector over the consumer or the masses.  Could the explanation of this be that new innovations (technology) of production have reduced the focus of capitalism upon Fordist concepts of “assembly line-type” production to produce a limited supply of goods because technology now allows for such vast abundance of production that the question of “how to produce enough?” now becomes “how do we dispose of all we produce?”  In other words in past eras public need or “wants” drove producers to enhance methods of production so there was enough product to go around and be shared by the masses.  Today due to technology business produce such large and consequently changing quantities of goods and services that the issue has become how to sell everything that is produced.  Has the system become one of built in product self-obsolescence?  One in which products must necessarily become outdated and outmoded within months or years in order to move the every producing widgets.  Is this why some may argue that much of the westernized world has become an “I want it” society?


Baudrillard challenges the view of Galbraith, however I see a meshing of what Galbraith postulates with that discussed by Baudrillard.  In considering the proposition of Galbraith it appears that this could complement the discussion that consumption is grounded in signification.  Signs (gestures, language, pictures) are all significant to advertising and marketing (P.48).  Consumption is driven by many factors.  Much of what Baudrillard recants regarding consumption is true in varying degree.  Perhaps because the masses although ideological are unique in individual analysis.  Ideological similarity and individual uniqueness are at the heart of marketing.  Therefore the “interest” or desire may be mythically peaked by signs of pleasure or status for instance.

[1] Baudrillard, Jean F. 1998. “The Consumer Society.” Pp. 25-55 in Selected Writings.  Edited and with an introduction by Mark Poster. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.

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