Coercion by Douglas Rushkoff Essay

7766 Words Mar 29th, 2011 32 Pages
Introduction: They Say

The first part of the book introduces the idea of "they," the people who seek to influence our lives in some form or fashion, and it poses questions about our collective cultural behaviors that have become an everyday event. The author introduces himself to us the readers. He also expresses his reason for writing the book by pointing to the backfire effect his previous books. Because he was a media/advertisement consultant, he acts as a "double agent" writing down and reporting the coercive practices from everyday people to large corporations. And that is exactly what he does in the book. He does not reach to conclusions and point at the responsible parties, but instead he strictly reports the facts, although no
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Seemingly uninteresting bits of personal information can give the coercer information he will use down the line, such as when Mort told the couple that his own grandmother lived in the same neighborhood. In the second stage of "reconnaissance" the coercer forces out of the coerced a "confession." For Mort, this happened when he "inspected" the poor quality bed. The CIA uses several different techniques to squeeze out a confession from the coerced. The last stage, "conclusion", achieves "ongoing cooperation" o r aims at not letting the coerced know that he has been tricked into a confession. This stage in the Mort example happened when the couple was offered a free gift.

The author states that the one industry that has best adapted to this hand-to-hand coercion is none other than the automotive industry. Unlike small-time bed distributors, like Mort, car dealers have huge corporations funding already prepared, no-fail scripts. Rushkoff brings up another example, this time of a retired car salesman named Jim Miller. Jim has a whole collection of all of the coercive literature, cassettes, and tapes he has gotten over years as a car dealer. The first instructions of the manuals tell Jim to be friendly and to find common ground. The salesmen are never instructed to talk about cars, but instead are instructed to listen. "Buying is 90% emotional," says one manual meaning the need for humans to be understood. Also, the manuals instruct to use presumptive language,

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