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How advertisers steal our souls and how we steal our souls back again. What Carl Jung would say to Karl Marx.
Karl Marx coined the term ‘commodity fetishism’ 150 years ago to describe what happens under free market capitalism: we are seduced by producers to fall for the allure of market commodities and to forget the awful conditions of factory workers. Recent writers have again detailed the strategies by which modern advertisers likewise hide appalling Third World workplaces and how advertising became sophisticated in manipulating the unconscious desires of consumers. They use the term ‘surveillance capitalism’ to indicate how carefully and secretly we are watched. Paradoxically, given his highly critical opinions on Communism, Jung was close to Marx in explaining how the collapse of religion had made modern people unconsciously vulnerable to a list of -isms, among them consumerism. Other writers have shown how a new generation of ‘consumers’ turned consumer goods into objects of spiritual worship and have shown the ignorance and clumsiness of advertisers.
More about the Presenter
Johann Graaff is a retired sociologist from UCT, but is now interested in the cross over between Jungian psychology and sociology. He graduated from the CG Jung Institute in Zurich, and has a practice as a Jungian analyst. He is a member of SAAJA, currently serving on Curriculum Committee.
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