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Thursday, March 12, 2009

DREAM MERCHANTS

We live in a world that is governed by advertisements—they are all over the place, in your face, attacking you through all your senses.

The first Seller of Dreams was the Serpent in Eden and the first Consumer—Eve. The product was a red apple.

And the men have been blaming women since then for everything that goes wrong! Yet it is men who have made it their life’s purpose to make money and success by selling these dreams since then! Since that time we are still trying to find our way back into paradise through the ideas sold by dream merchants.

Who are these Dream Merchants? They are mainly the promoters of Consumerism. They give the public an exposure to products, services etc. through ads. They promote a Utopian lifestyle that seemingly is within the reach of anyone. The sale of a product or service all boils down to creating awareness and then promoting the product through blitzkrieg media exposure.

Consumerism came into being with the discovery or invention of Desire. The Desire was then exploited by creating a product or service to satisfy it and resorting to promotional advertisements containing truths, half truths and plain lies about the new product to establish a market. Desire was blown into a Demand as opposed to a genuine need.

Next came the competitors to exploit the market in the name of consumer awareness and choice. Soon ad budgets occupied a large percentage of the product price. The consumer willingly fell into the trap and bought the dream. Soon he began to dream in technicolor and wanted and demanded upgradation and more. The vicious circle of demand – advertisement – purchase- consumption – discard-repurchase enveloped more and more people and has now assumed threatening proportions, destroying natural resources and raising the spectre of mankind itself being consumed.

Consumerism begins when you are born—in the choice of hospital, the doctor who delivers you, the paediatrician who checks you out first, the choice and usage of baby products and today even the choice of cord blood stem cell banking for possible need in the future.

Life takes you through a gamut of needs—education, career, marriage, family—that have to be satisfied and that never end. Even after you are dead consumerism goes on—wood or electric cremation, ashes to be immersed in the sea or in a river or the Ganga itself; burial services, choice of coffins, flowers, eulogies. And in all this the stretched hand that will give or receive, stays extended.

The Dream Merchants build castles in the air and we occupy them without checking out the solidity or the foundations of these illusions. All of us are perpetrators. All of us are victims.

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