Today more and more people pay attention to the situation of the society in the USA, and the majority of humans obtain all the data by reading the studies and books written by the sociologists. From all instances of the social issues in the United States, culture jamming has become the one that humans gradually start caring about. In the book Culture Jam by Kalle Lasn, he discusses the influence of corporations and consumerism on the behaviors and thoughts of people.
According to Lasn, the media have become a great power to influence people’s thoughts and introduce new ideas and concepts into their minds. Furthermore, most of the media are, in fact, controlled by huge US corporations. The author refers to the sponsor as a king, and it is hard to disagree with him (Lasn 35). People tend to express their own feelings via media channels. Yet, nowadays it is extremely difficult to do that as large corporations are the real kings of existing media. They supervise all the sources of any data, and humans may not learn more about the problems, which were caused by these large organizations. All around the globe numerous social problemss take place behind the positive results of economics of the nations, but most of them are never revealed to society, as corporations spend lots of money to avoid the spread of information in order to preserve their reputation. Thus, corporations, via different media sources, can totally control people’s thinking.
The main thought behind culture jamming is that human beings are not offered the choice as to whether they are exposed to commercials or not (Carducci 116). Without their permission, every person in the society is exposed to numerous corporate commercials every day. Lasn points out that those commercials have already influenced people’s thoughts and behaviors to a great extent. The majority of large corporations spend millions of dollars on commercials to attract more people to purchase products advertised, by bombarding humans with carefully crafted and luxurious ads on the media channels such as TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, billboards, benches, and even buses. People are trying to generate more profits to purchase more items and then, feeling disappointed but not quite certain why, they keep trying to gain even greater profits and more acquisitions (Lasn 87-125). The direction of thoughts and following conduct are influenced by commercials from various media channels. It appears that people’s thoughts are already controlled by the message offered by commercials. That is why so many individuals, particularly teenagers, begin to purchase well-known brand goods under the pressure of commercials from famous corporations.
The cultures have altered a lot during the last decades due to the increasing power of media and the great impact of commercials. The advertisements of well-known corporations have already shaped people’s thoughts and their lifestyle. Furthermore, the control of media channels by organizations also influences the reality of the data people obtain from the surroundings they live in.
The phenomenon of the mass globalization and wasteful spending as everybody knows it has its origin in the 20th century. The majority of marketing campaigns of huge corporations, in the early years, ideologically fraudulent as they might be, were crucial to evolve the prosperous economy. Nevertheless, in the next years, holding that nearly utopian picture of a better lifestyle, the concept of globalization became dirty with deceitful practices.
All corporations soon understood that their earnings lay not in production and marketing of their goods, but in selling brands that people would gladly welcome into their lives. The goods soon became minor to the concept. The level of success of a certain brand was not dependent on the quality of goods, but rather how far it could pervade the culture developing the cult of ‘super brand’ (Holzer 405-415). The well-known brands, such as Tommy Hilfiger, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s, became respected internationally, achieving the assault on the public area in the type of corporate sponsorship, targeting possible buyers with pictures, with obvious disrespect for decency or the purity of the personal space.
In the existing environment, in spite of the guarantee of option and interactivity, there has been a radical decrease in ways as it goes, with the increase in corporate consolidation and monopoly of market. The augmenting amount of organizations have started to accept the model, which embraces the outsourcing and hiring cheaper labor in evolving nations, contributing to the worsening of quality of work (Holzer 405-415).
Despite the fact that some of the multimillion dollar corporations seem to be concerned with personality of their buyers and clients, they tend to appeal to the masses, using media sources to insert into people minds thoroughly chosen messages of globalization and mass consumerism. They used commercials to develop certain values and cultural system, whilst predetermining the social principles and equating individual happiness with possessing their products (Holzer 405-415). Corporations dislike people thinking outside the box, do not embrace uniqueness, and believe that freedom of choice should basically be limited to selecting from a few predetermined variants.
These greedy practices pose a lawful hazard to the general authority. Corporations obviously assault people’s privacy, influence politics and administrations, developing excessively false needs. In such a way, culture jamming – a reaction against the growing cultural and economic reach of multinational organizations – has taken the shape of cultural movement embracing not the politicians, intellectuals, or even musicians that are undoubtedly grateful to these companies themselves, but rather independent artists who still have a creative license to indicate the inconsistencies and illegal practices of these corporations.
As the distinctions among similar goods have narrowed, and rivalry has become concentrated on brand identification, corporations have discovered themselves engaged in never-ending fight for consumer attention. When the corporation enters the advertising game, there is no way out of this cycle, as if one logo is not on billboard, another one definitely will be. Consequently, the commercial industry has expanded, positioning itself as the “culture” producers and coming up with more creative approaches to deliver their message to the masses. From the luxury logos on golf resorts and themed parties to the campaigns, which promote the feeling of a product with no significance to what the item does or how it operates, the commercial industry has sold the service by promising to evolve culture out of product characteristics. As brand has become the major part of business, the public space has become more and more infringed by private logos. What people used to consider as common spaces, owned only by the public, is today widely used by private corporations; and, as the endless rivalry for consumer attention has become more intense and radical, strategies are required to control space. In result, public space has turned to be too privatized; and there is no place in the world that is resistant to this trend.
However, with this propaganda of graphics and objects in public spaces, there is only illusion of greater option. Once multinational corporations make a decision to conquer the market, they do so with all the power they have. Instead of merely opening one store in a particular location, such corporations as Starbucks use own resources and the approach recognized as “clustering” to open stores simultaneously (Klein 135). They utilize the “economy of scale” based approach to drive small business owners, who cannot contend on this scale out of business and take their market share (Klein 135). It doesn’t matter if corporations’ own stores cannibalize one another; the capability to take opportunity out of the market is more significant. It doesn’t matter if every store brings profit, profit is driven by owning the market, and owning the marketplace is based on restricting consumer options. Certainly, buyers have more coffee flavors to pick from than ever, but the outcome is that small companies, which sell exceptional goods, cannot contend or risk entering the market. As the international corporations have taken over, buyers discover themselves living in auniverse of objects, which can vary in shape or size, but are all identical.
Ironically, due to restrictions on accessible goods, the US buyers have been forced to buy goods created by large corporations, therefore, supporting their further growth, and in result corroding employment opportunities, and contributing to exploitation of employees abroad (especially females and youngsters). This reduction in workers has lead to insecurity for American employees left behind by the international economy (Shah).
The American citizens have to stop the overwhelming influence of the capitalist consumerist social order by ending purchases of unnecessary goods and simplifying own lives. In the attempt to fulfill the American Dream, the majority of individuals overspends on some luxuries, and then is not capable to preserve the important things they need and have to pay for, such as their houses. Inability to pay mortgage leads to expulsion, and this speculation and excessiveness attributed significantly to the terrible stock market crash in 2008. As Korten asserts, on behalf of creating new riches, people are impoverishing themselves, putting own survival at risk (Korten 182-210). The consumerism is concerned with personal needs, options, and satisfaction, and, consecutively, encourages overwork, stress, huge debt, family issues, community problems, and, most significantly, the boost of economic disparity (Korten 182-210).
To conclude, this paper demonstrates that large corporations, media and consumerism in general have deeply influenced the way American citizens think and behave. Due to the fact that people are not provided with the choice as to whether they are exposed to commercials or not, they get used to all the commercials around them. Thus, the corporations dictate own messages through numerous media resources to all American citizens. Besides, despite the fact that some of multimillion dollar corporations seem to be concerned with personality and individuality of their customers, in reality they tend to appeal to masses, using media sources to influence people’s minds and imply thoroughly chosen messages of globalization and mass consumerism. The corporations clearly assault people’s privacy, developing excessively false needs. In such a way, the culture jamming is the natural reaction against increasing cultural and economic reach of multinational organizations. The supporters of cultural jamming try to define the problem and explain options for living more “authentic” living. To solve the problem, it is highly recommended to stop the branding of the USA by altering the way data flows, and also to demonstrate resistance against the power of the brands by breaking media.