Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Free Market’s imagery problem

Free-market advocates are notoriously terrible at creating positive mass media propaganda to further its idea’s. The Left has developed a great talent at pulling the heart strings with very good results. The following observation is made by Joseph Packer:

Modern-day statists seem incredibly adept at commanding the attention of the public. Have you ever noticed how there exists an unending stream of documentaries criticizing the free market? Roger and Me, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices, This Is What Democracy Looks Like, and Sicko are some of the titles that immediately pop to mind. I can’t remember ever seeing a libertarian documentary being widely promoted, despite the fact that libertarians make up roughly 13 percent of the American population, according to research by David Boaz and David Kirby.

Is there an American over the age of 25 who does not remember the terrible images from the Exxon Valdez oil spill? These images evoke strong anti-corporate feelings even though the company has now spent over $3 billion to alleviate the environmental impacts and has paid restitution to the affected fishing industry.

How many individuals have seen pictures, much less heard of, the Milwaukee disaster? Over 400 times as much pollution was knowingly dumped in Lake Michigan in 2004 by local governments that understood they would not be held accountable. Americans have been inundated with pictures of melting icecaps, but have they seen pictures of the children starving because of our energy policies? Numerous studies show that government policies pushing ethanol as a solution to global warming act to raise food prices, leaving the world’s poorest to starve. This on top of the fact that most scientists believe the corn ethanol being pushed by the government will have no effect on warming. Many Americans have been confronted with images of children working in factories; however, they do not see the images of the 5,000 Nepalese girls forced into prostitution because of U.S. trade sanctions against child labor. These facts are not secret, but their lack of visual presence means they are all but invisible to most Americans. (Read The Entire Article)

There has been over the last number of years an acceptable move to more government oversight and regulation by the general public and a doting Washington establishment; in the false hope that stricter government oversight will equate less volatility, less malfeasant behavior, and generally a safer world. But as Mr. Packer notes above, more government oversight does not necessarily lead to its purported results.


Jeff Perren said...

They state the problem clearly enough. What do you think is the solution?

The cup is half full of something I don't like said...

Government is incompetent when it comes to picking a solution. At best, it can create an environment that encourages private citizens and companies to come up with solutions.

The BoBo said...

As a conservative working on a degree in public health - I have encountered many students who support bigger government and more restrictions in the name of public health. Many of them are willing to give up their freedom of choice so willingly - i.e., New York and California's bans on trans fats, etc. They want more EPA oversight of corporations, etc. I must be the only one in public health pushing for privatization of the health care system. It just boggles my mind!

VH said...

Hey Jeff: My solution is to continue to support free-market associations, think tanks, politicians, and bloggers; people need to hear and understand the full story.
Bobo: It seems that the current meme in our country is that government has all the answers. This is a real shame.