Why then, doesn't the government bring advertising to a halt? At least they could start with targeted advertising as seen on the internet.
(Of course, if you measure the success of an economy by the GDP, then it might seem that ads have a positive influence, but that seems a bit like a broken-window fallacy to me).
It is not. I have seen a ramp-up in the amount of advertisement everywhere. Maybe poorer countries like Romania - I have been just to Bucharest - are not so affected. But, Sweden, or Spain, - the countries that I spend more time - are just installing more and more advertisements everywhere.
Gambling advertisements are quite common in Stockholm. I remember specially one telling people to buy lottery tickets because they live sucks and the only lottery can save them from their horrible lives. It was disgusting.
Cities have a high amount of cognitive pollution.
I remember reading Paris tried this, but that’s a long way from “common in Europe”.
By this logic, many public transport centres such as train stations wouldn't be public spaces either (not unheard of for a train station to have a ticket barrier too). There are adverts in places other than the airport too!
"The effect implies that a hypothetical doubling of advertising expenditure would result in a 3% drop in life satisfaction. That is approximately one half the absolute size of the marriage effect on life satisfaction, or approximately one quarter of the absolute size of the effect of being unemployed."
In fact, it explicitly says that it does not show causation and recommends further research.
It's easy to come up with theories to explain it that don't have anything to do with the one you proposed. For instance, higher advertising could be caused by weakness in the economy that doesn't show up in other data (or at least not GDP) but which leads to less satisfaction later, which wouldn't show up in their controls.
That or I marvel to those around me at the amazing production value of some stupid commercial that’s aired to them countless times is.
I have no doubt a barrage of ads day in and day out, regardless of economic condition is bad for a person’s well being.
I assure if you the industry disappeared tomorrow, I would certainly find some other way to continue making the world a much worse place.
Interesting idea. I just read that over £20bn is spent a year on advertising in the UK. The problem is that things which are socially valuable - especially journalism, but also a lot of entertainment - are chronically dependent on advertising revenues.
Netflix is an interesting example of a new model of entertainment that generates revenues through subscriptions instead of advertisements. Lots of newspapers have also shifted to a subscription-based model, though only The Guardian has done so without placing their website behind a paywall. Another alternative is public service broadcasting, like the BBC.
I'd be surprised to hear they were selling viewing data though. A few years ago, they were making a lot of noise about how that data gave them a unique way to make decisions on what content to produce that other studios lacked. Seems like the kind of thing you'd hold close if that were the case.
When you search, it's also clear they have shadow profiles for content they don't have (e.g. before they had Monty Python and the Holy Grail, they'd autocomplete to "Things like Monty Python and the Holy Grail" pretty early in the autocomplete results). I wonder how heavily that search data is weighted in deciding how much to offer to license existing content.
Probably quite highly, as it’s well known that Netflix also watches what’s popular on torrent sites to help decide what to licence next.
I think calling journalism "socially valuable" is debatable.
If anyone has any literature on the other effects mentioned by the parent, I'd be highly interested as well.
My presumption is that if advertising was banned, and you were still dealing with a relatively free society, that many more resources would go in to PR and marketing. At least an ad you know is an ad.
A good exercise is to go back and look through magazines from the 1950s and 1960s, especially Playboy. The advertising seems much more transparent in its shallow promises and we actually know what the long term outcomes were from following them -- e.g. alcohol, tobacco, and cars no one gives a shit about anymore. The editorial bridges between advertising and content glaringly stick out. These things aren't necessarily no longer true, but the obviousness of time shines a bright light on it.
To me the biggest story in ads isn't ad blockers or Google, it is Facebook getting consumers to spend gargantuan amounts of money creating content for free and then making tens of billions of dollars from it. Youtube/Google at least has revenue sharing.
Barely. It's not like a person can create an account, upload an original video which becomes extremely popular, and receive a single penny in compensation.
True. In some countries, mixing content and ads (see social media influencers) is already forbidden, especially when targeting children. I suppose the law could be extended here.
A better question than what benefit is advertising might be, "How can advertising be made more beneficial to the viewers"
Imagine firing off hundreds of ads at a vegan about how eating meat is good. That's essentially what all the "buy this shit" ads are doing to someone who explicitly buys as little as they can to get by.
There is an inherent problem with advertising in that the incentives are somewhat misaligned. Company X doesn't want me to learn about the best way to solve problem Y. They want me to learn about _their_ solution to problem Y.
Or even worse... Company X wants me to believe that Y is a problem for me — when in fact it may not be, or at least not how they claim — and that only they can solve it.
Simon Kuznets, a Russian emigre to the US, developed the concept of the GDP in 1934, and according to Bregman, tracking the GDP was a significant factor in the US's ability to harness its manufacturing capability during the war effort; most countries had a significantly inferior understanding of their own production dynamics.
As useful was it was for the war effort, Kuznets warned that the GDP should be redefined after the war, as the country's needs had changed. Instead, military spending is part of the GDP. No party wants to significantly cut back on military spending because it would affect the GDP. So not only does the GDP encourage increased military spending, it doesn't reward so many things that would be beneficial to society, and thus little effort is spent optimizing for those things.
TL;DR: if the GDP doesn't measure it, there is no political will to address it, and if the GDP does measure it, it is a political necessity to boost spending in that area. Thus, needless military spending, rent seeking money shuffling on wall street, and advertising are richly rewarded as they are included in the GDP.
The feeling has to do with the fact that where I live, nearly every software engineer you meet works for a defense contractor, an issuance company, or a finance company. These jobs, and the dollars that come from them, seem somehow hollow to me. I'd accept a significant pay cut if my code were somehow contributing to something like growing food.
My SO opened an escape room a year ago. I though similarly as you before that (not that it make people consume more, but that they'll buy the inferior product), but then after a few weekend without any reservation... it made me realize how things aren't just found.
You need to be reminded that something exist to even consider it. It's not even a question of whether that's the best thing for you.
She always ask people what they think once they done and recently she got as a comment "but you aren't visible enough". We pay for ads, a few thousands, we are probably not too far from having spend 5 digits in ads. I couldn't imagine how people could be aware of our existence without ads at all.
> and while ads may make the internet "free", we are still paying for those ads indirectly.
We are paying for it, sure, but at least we are paying, aren't we? I like that I can get any ads on a channel. I love DIY channels, I seriously hate how almost all of them hide that all their tools were given. They say it from time to time, but on most videos, they'll just keep using the one from the past videos without mentionning getting them for free. That's an ads by the way, they may even directly get paid for using theses tools. With adsense though, the ads I get aren't necessarily related to the video, I'm AWARE they are ads, they are made FOR ME (thus more profitable for the channel, because I may need tool, but I may be more likely to buy a new computer for example).
Not necessarily. An ad for a restaurant doesn’t necessarily make you eat more. An ad for a hotel doesn’t make you go on more trips.
When a company can produce a product that is somehow too high quality to be a viable business model, you know we're living in a weird society. Capitalism requires that stuff breaks and is replaced regularly.
And advertising helps manipulate us to desire new things constantly.
I've been advocating for bans on unsolicited advertising for many years. Usually such comments get voted down in to oblivion, but as the years have gone by more and more people are beginning to feel the same way.
Advertising is severely detrimental, not only because of the reasons that you state, but they also distort the media because news outlets are loathe to do investigative journalism or negative reporting on the companies that provide their bread and butter and because they also want to run stories that don't offend or antagonize their advertisers -- stories from that point of view that capitalism is bad or advertising is bad, for instance, are off limits to many outlets partially because of this.
Advertisers also routinely lie about the products they're selling, so people are being deceived about the products they're buying, sometimes with very serious negative consequences (such as advertising of cigarettes or medical products that are actually harmful).
Advertising and advertised products have and do do tremendous harm. It's just generally indirect by one or more degrees. Tobacco, alcohol, petroleum, gambling, leaded paint. Just off the top of my head.
I'm not dismissing the possibility of conversations about whether advertising for services is a type of transaction that's difficult to reason about, and that users need to be protected from themselves by regulation. But looking at only the outflow half of a transaction and asking "I don't benefit from this part, we should ban it" is utter gibberish.
"Did anyone ever investigate what benefits payment systems have to a population? It seems like a net loss to me, since payment systems cost money to operate and in the end all they do is reduce the amount of money a user has. While payment systems may allow you to 'buy' services, we are still paying for these systems directly and indirectly
Why then, doesn't the government bring currency and bank accounts and credit cards to a halt?"