So last time we had a brief discussion on general Power Structures so without going too far back into history let’s start our journey in the 19th Century. During this era there was many collapses of empires including the Holy Roman and Mughal Empires.
During this era the rise and influence of the British and American empires were in expansion. After the topple of the French Empire the British Empire became the world leading power, controlling one quarter of the world’s population and one fifth of the total land in the world.
So as this neo liberalist vision of the Anglo American Empire started to pick up momentum and our world started to change. Wars and occupations were waged and the British Empire was so big that the sun never set on it. Now to fast forward to the 20th century and the world was facing a world war in the wake of the new century.
One of the names that popped up in the lecture this week was Edward Bernays,
so I decided to do some more reading into whom he was. I also watched the documentary ‘Century of the self” by Adam Curtis, which gave me a visual insight into the world of Bernays. At the wake of the war The USA send Edward Bernays a master mind in propaganda to Austria to win the minds and hearts of the Austrian people and manipulate them into believing the story presented to them. Bernays had applied his uncle, Sigmund Freud’s
ideas. Freud had beliefs that the man should never be equal to one another and the mass needs to be controlled otherwise they will release the repressed animal state we once evolved from.
After WW1 and when Bernays got back to the states he commented that, “I decided that if you could use propaganda for war, you could certainly use if for peace” the term propaganda was associated with the Germen Nazi party and was given negative press. So Bernays decided that he will call this the “Counsel on Public Relations” He set up office in New York and the rest is history.
After finding out about this manipulation of the masses that was giving so much power to its executer, i decided to do further reading into this area and came across some interesting perspectives of the world.
agrees with Marxism and argues marketing is also an opiate. The new world order introduced a free market capitalist economic society, where greed has become the main motive of life. this greed fuels the markets growth.
Debord states In his book from 1967 Society Of the Spectacle “The spectacle is a permanent opium war which aims to make people identify goods with commodities and satisfaction with survival that increases according to its own laws. But if consumable survival is something which must always increase, this is because it continues to contain privation. If there is nothing beyond increasing survival, if there is no point where it might stop growing, this is not because it is beyond privation, but because it is enriched privation”.
So this statement tells us that the human is constantly striving to to fulfil desires and the survival of the fittest has become the survival of the bourgeoisie. Because they own the means and relations of production this creates a relationship with the consumer through supply and demand and this is how the power and authority is exerted over the masses. so we want what they have and produce. This dominance over the masses has made to believe that these materials are a necessity in our survival in a dog eat dog capitalist society.
I have learnt a lot over the last few days. Ideas are blooming. From my research i have found out that the world is not what we think it is and influence comes from the very top of societies. Keep your eyes open for the next blog on Power.
- The power of PR (richardstacy.com)
- It Takes a Nation of Billions – Adam Curtis’ The Century Of The Self (wfmu.org)
- Torches of freedom (virtuallinguist.typepad.com)
- Power Moving On… (prophecy-media.com)
- Britain’s Empire: Resistance, Repression and Revolt by Richard Gott – review (guardian.co.uk)