The movie we watched in class, the documentary, was interesting in that I feel it raised moral questions. I don’t really think there was anything wrong with fooling people, but I also don’t think it reflects badly on people that they fell for advertisements. It seems perfectly sensible to me that one should trust what one is told- so if you’re given a lot of information about a place, you would think it does or will exist. However, if the movie’s point was that one should not trust an advertisement, that is a more complicated question. I think consumers should be able to trust what they’re told about products. That advertisements might not be trustworthy, at least as untrustworthy/ completely false as the example the movie made, is quite a frightening thought.
As for the significance the movie has for capitalist/consumer culture versus socialist culture, it does show that capitalism gets people to expect more and perhaps depend too much on the availability of goods and services, and the ability of such goods and services to provide personal fulfillment. In the segment about the families that were interviewed about shopping habits, one part stood out to me as particularly striking; when the girl and her mother were talking about how the mother had made the family go on a short hike, which made the girl miserable, yet she was instantly made happy by visiting a store. It shows consumerism to have such a glorified presence in capitalist society. I believe this issue is more visible in former socialist countries, as there are generations who clearly remember when times were drastically different. In addition to this, the value of having an available variety of goods might be increased because it has only recently been introduced.
Overall the movie made me sympathetic to the consumers, as they only reacted logically to promises made, but the movie did make capitalism’s negative side very visible.
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Remember that final presentations are due Dec. 6 in class! Final presentations / Anthropology of Socialism and Postsocialism by Andrew Asher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC
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