Politics and power are very closely tied through the use of marketing and propaganda. The reason behind this is the fact that corporations have enormous power, not only in the U.S but also globally, in shaping the culture of society. Through the study of Karen Ho’s book Liquidity we are able to see that Wall Street itself, is a huge marketing scheme, considering that they try to convince us that the people working there are smarter, more talented than the rest of us, and live a life based on meritocracy. While, the reality is that their whole recruitment process and inside culture is messed up – majoring in fields such as anthropology, art, music, and history, many of their recruits have no idea of finance but are recruited based on the prestige of their university. Even though this should point to a lack of incompetency in managing our markets, they feed us stories about their superior intelligence and class to convince us to leave the market in their hands. As we have seen in Inside Job, the results of leaving our market in the hands of incompetents, who use their political power to cause the markets to deregulate in order to rise their profits, are horrible and create a high cost for the general public.
However, the use of marketing in establishing power is just as evident in a global setting. If we take a look at Poland, described by Dunn in Privatizing Poland, it has gone through great structural and social changes on its road from socialism to capitalism. Both local and global companies, with the help of American ad companies, have used management technology such as niche marketing, accounting, and audit to shape the culture of the Polish society. By creating ads that tapped into people’s issues with socialism, they managed to create new social identities between the public, such as an increasing number of businessmen attempting to embody the capitalist flexibility and rejecting the socialist rigidness. The power that marketing has in the lives and decisions of people does not stop here. While creating social differentiation between the older, more rigid, socialists and the younger, more flexible, capitalists, companies tapped into these variances to argue for what are considered good and bad decisions. Employees of these companies were chosen based on their physical appearance and personality – if one person was more social and better dressed than another, even though the second may have been more qualified, he would get the job-, in a very similar manner to the Wall Street recruitment. As Castells points out, The technology and communication networks did indeed shape the process of social change, but was it for the best?
Niche marketing has the power of shaping the meaning and the decisions of consumption. If we look at the history of coffee both in the U.S as in Europe, we see how different niche marketing campaigns have created differentiated target markets that convey their class and social status based on the way they consume coffee – as we can see in the Rise of Yuppie Coffees and the Re-imagination of class in the U.S. Depending on what coffee you say you drink, there is a power and class dynamic. In Europe, being able to sit down and drink and expresso means that you have time in your hands that you are willing to spend in conspicuous leisure. While, in the U.S coffee is consumed in a faster way, as seen by the many opportunities to get coffee on the go, indicating to a society that is more mobile and faster paced. As we may be able to see marketing dominance is very closely tied to power and politics.