Selling what No One wants


Modern manufacturers learned that it was not enough to sell what people wanted to buy.  They had to go further than that.  They wanted to sell what no one wanted to buy.  At least not yet!  Part of their job was to make people want to buy what they wanted to sell. They transformed the principle of supply and demand.  They did that by manufacturing demand.

Many products were at first strange to the American public.  For example, Gillette razors, Kodak cameras, Waterman fountain pens, Kellogg cereals, to name but a few.  So it became necessary to create a market for their products and this is what the manufacturers and their marketing and advertising experts learned to do, and to do well.  They not only created new products, they created new living habits.  They changed the country.  The result of all of this of course, as we now know very well, is extravagant packaging, disposable products and containers, planned obsolescence and cosmetic changes that quickly created markets for replacement products.  The consumer society was created.  Now we have come to realize, with some pain, that the effects of all of this are not private and not benign.  Far from that.  The ecological effects alone are monstrous, to say nothing about the effects on the minds and morals of people.

We have to learn to control that. To do that, to some extent at least, we must control markets. That is not always easy, but it is frequently important.

Selling what no one wants takes some creative genius, but it is a genius that must be curtailed.

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