Analysis Of Subliminal Man By J. G. Ballard

1075 Words 5 Pages
The Capitalistic Need to Consume
"Advertising is the very essence of democracy (Anton Chekhov)". Advertising has become a weapon for consumption and in a capitalistic society, consuming is the measure of a healthy economy, so the more we consume, the better off we are. The short story "Subliminal Man, by J.G. Ballard is set in a dystopian future where people are constantly consuming. In this world, a car or appliance is owned for only a few months at a time before being replaced. Huge signs being erected all around the city that shout subliminal advertisements to the population in order to boost the consumption of goods and services. This fictional world is a chilling reflection of our own culture. Ballard's short story helps us to understand
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A Capitalist society must consume in order to survive, and the more that society consumes the healthier that economy is. Renowned economist John Maynard Keynes popularized a theory he named "the paradox of thrift" which highlights the need for a Capitalist society to consume. His theory states that "individuals try to save more during an economic recession, which essentially leads to a fall in aggregate demand and hence no economic growth." This essentially means that without spending, the economy will not grow and consequently will stagnate, leading to a greater recession. In order for a capitalist society to have a healthy economy there must be a constant rise in consumer spending. A similar theory was discussed in Subliminal Man. When Franklin and Hathaway are discussing the subliminal messaging and how it's deemed legal, Hathaway responds …show more content…
Harvard Professor of economics Sendhil Mullainathan takes a look at the correlations between the release date of new phones and their operating systems. He analyzed the google search data and found that there were huge spikes in google searches regarding slow phones every time a new phone rolled out (Mullainathan 1). This detuning forces the consumer to get rid of their perfectly good phone and buy a new one, boosting sales of their new product. The same practice occurs in Subliminal Man. Ballard writes about the roads saying

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