17 September 2008

Nazi Propaganda, Modern Advertising, and the Psychology of Manipulating the Masses

One reason that the liberal economies rose to prominence while Germany self destructed under the Nazis is that they used the powers of mass psychology to stimulate visions of consumption rather than world domination.

We really did learn a great deal about psychology early in the 20th century. Sadly, what we’ve learned has largely been mis-used. The Nazis may have been the first to use the power of psychology. Specifically, they applied these principles to propaganda and the manipulation of mass media as a tool to create the consensus trance, to define national opinion. Used as a tool for stimulating delusions of world domination, the Nazis caused Germany to self destruct, killing about 60+ million people before they were done.

The Allies – the UK and even more so, the US – used this newfound power of mass psychology for something better. Rather than focus the masses on world domination, they focused the masses on consumption. Advertising, branding, and admonitions to “go shopping” keep us all focused on the importance of making and spending more money. This way, the masses are still manipulated but rather benignly. I’m almost positive that’s better.

2 comments:

ThomasLB said...

I'm not sure it's benign, it's just that the unhappiness is kept out of sight.

Ron Davison said...

Thomas,
Well,it generally involves less bombing.