Usually, dishonesty is a dirty word in a society and no one want to be accused to be dishonest for afraid to be distrusted and marginalized. However, dishonesty does not disappear. It simply reinvent itself in positive term. For example, in previous post: instead of saying self deception, it will be nicer if we say it as ‘positive thinking’ for marketing purpose.
The next practice is also quite similar to positive thinking. But instead of deceiving oneself, this practice is usually done to other people. Like positive thinking, it was perceived as something normal and even encouraged in order to survive in competition whether in business, politics and relationship.
Firstly, let’s take a look on advertisement done by corporations. I took it as axiom that not every products will bring equal benefits to human. Several type of products are listed below:
- Products that are universally beneficial to all people, producing little or no side effect during its production and consumption, such as fruits and vegetables.
- Products are beneficial to certain group of people but have a little or no value for others. It also causes little or no side effects during its production and consumption. For example, diapers and dots (for babies), high heel shoes (for women), and razor (for men).
- Products that are only beneficial if consumed or used in little amount but become harmful if consumed or used in large amount. Alternatively, the products are beneficial for short-term, but will bring harmful effects on long-term. For example: alcohol, junk food and video games.
- Products that are beneficial to its customers but causing negative effects during its production or consumption to other entities, like environment and other humans.
- Products that are not beneficial but are claimed to be beneficial since it is hard to check its benefits.
I used to read a book that tell its readers that if you are business owner, there are 3 things you should take into consideration. They are profit, people and nature. Obviously, you will need to generate profit to be able to sustain your business so it needs to be considered. You will also need customers and suppliers to be able to sell your products to generate profit. Therefore, you need to consider these people, their buying habits, their demographics and so on. Lastly, you also need to consider is there any easily accessible natural resources to create product which you want to sell to your customers.
Unfortunately, the problem come during prioritization. If you are people-oriented and care about long-term well being of your customers, you should sell and produce 1st and 2nd category product from where you generate your profit. Your advertisement will be honest advertisement since you are just telling the truth.
However, for greedy people, profit always come first. They also take advantage of ignorance and irrationality of modern customers for their product. They make products that generate more profits (typically belongs to 3rd, 4th, 5th category) but harmful or produce side effects for their customers for long-run. They probably will even sacrifice their relationships with their long-time friends and colleagues to sell their products.
In advertisement, these business owners try to make people think that their products belong to first or second type although they knew that it is not the case. They hide negative effects of their products and typically in their advertisement people are shown activities that are not related to their products. Or, they will claim that ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ is something subjective, so they will escape scrutiny.
Since most countries have been sold out to free market ideology, we should practice discernment the very next time somebody come to you to sell. And please, don’t sacrifice your relationship for the sake of profit.