Two quotes on public relations.

“Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country… We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society… In almost every act of our lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons… who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

Edward L. Bernays, the father of public relations (writing in support of controlling people’s minds)

“Like casinos, large corporate entities have studied the numbers and the ways in which people respond to them. These are not con tricks – they’re not even necessarily against our direct interests, although sometimes they can be – but they are hacks for the human mind, ways of manipulating us into particular decisions we otherwise might not make. They are also, in a way, deliberate underminings of the core principle of the free market, which derives its legitimacy from the idea that informed self-interest on aggregate sets appropriate prices for items. The key word is ‘informed’; the point of behavioural economics – or rather, of its somewhat buccaneering corporate applications – is to skew our perception of the purchase to the advantage of the company. The overall consequence of that is to tilt the construction of our society away from what it should be if we were making the rational decisions classical economics imagines we would, and towards something else.”

Nick Harkaway, The Blind Giant

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