Galbraith's Thesis Of 'The Dependence Effect'

884 Words 4 Pages
Consumer autonomy is the basic capability of consumers to choose what goods and services they will purchase. Galbraith’s thesis of “the dependence effect” is essentially claiming that due to the current trend of advertisement consumers are losing their ability to truly decide what they want. In his thesis Galbraith argues that the only ethical form of advertising is to tell the consumer of what they already know. In this way any new product is potentially damaging to a consumer’s autonomy. Accordingly, this view neglects the possibility that the advertisement is informing the consumer of a product that is potentially helpful to them that without the advertisement they would have no way of knowing about.
The free market model rests on the foundations
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Humans tend to want something because they saw someone else enjoying the benefits of that item. In this way much of demand would, by Galbraith’s definition, be unnecessary. Accordingly, looking at Galbraith’s thesis in this way von Hayek’s counterargument holds a reasonable position of defending the free market and its advertising. F. A. von Hayek holds the opinion that without advertisement consumers would miss out on a wealth of new products and services that are completely unique to any that came before …show more content…
However, as it’s unlikely Galbraith intended to take his thesis this far and was probably referring to the advertisements blatantly preying on consumers emotions such as fear it becomes reasonable to take a step back and examine Galbraith’s stance more closely. If Galbraith was in fact referring to these over the top advertisements then this stance becomes somewhat understandable, convincing consumers to buy a product by telling them without it they run the risk of serious harm is an action intended to manipulate. It toes the line of unethical coercion as using scare tactics could potentially change a consumer’s mind for all the wrong reasons. However, while some advertisements do play on these emotions to convince consumers they need these products an equal number advertise only to the degree required to inform consumers of their products. It’s also important to consider that while some consumers may be convinced by these scare tactics others will remain unaffected. In this way so long as consumers have the final say in whether they purchase a product, consumer autonomy is not immediately endangered by contemporary market and

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