We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Marching all the way to the bank

There is no shortage of entrepreneurs who will assure you that the secret to business success lies in marketing. Who am I to argue? You may have a quality product but you won’t make any money from it unless you sell it. Lots of it.

That is why I have a lot of respect for the people who devise marketing strategies. Producers can and do work hard to refine their product but the money doesn’t go round nearly so well without the salesmen who tickle the fancy of potential buyers.

It is those strategies that I always find so intruiging. How do they identify the pople who might be interested in any given product and what things do they say to induce these people to actually part with their hard-earned? Oftentimes these strategies are subtle beyond subtle. Other times, though, they are screamingly obvious.

Whilst on a London Underground train coming home this evening, I noticed a poster campaign for a book by a man called Joseph Stiglitz which is called ‘Globalization and its discontents’.

Now we all know that globalization does indeed have its discontents and they are mostly be found running around places like Genoa and Seattle waving ‘Hammer & Sickle’ flags. So I was unsurprised to note the sales strapline on the poster which read something like: “Will make you angry enough to want to march”. How dreary, thought I. Here again we have yet another frothing-at-the-mouth marxoid rant designed to incite walnut-brained followers to throw incendiary devices through the window of the nearest Starbucks.

However, and interestingly enough, the book itself does not appear to live up to its firebrand sales pitch. If the Amazon editorial linked to above is anything to go by, the author actually appears to take a more (dare I say it?) nuanced approach to the entire global trade thing and he is even prepared to say good things about it:

“Those who vilify globalization too often overlook its benefits,” Stiglitz writes, explaining how globalization, along with foreign aid, has improved the living standards of millions around the world.

Okay, I shall overlook the patent admiration for ‘foreign aid’ (transnational welfare) here. I said he was nuanced, I didn’t say he was necessarily right.

But, the point is, that none of that comes across from the advertising which clearly seeks to pitch this as some sort of ‘Nihilists Handbook’ aimed at the smelly combat trousers/woolly cap brigade. Regardless of the fact that they might want their money back when they’ve read it, it is still a bit of a depressing insight for the rest of us.

After all, publishers want to make money (I assume) and advertising campaigns on the London Underground are quite expensive. The publishers (or the advertising executives) clearly take the view that there are enough of these people floating about to be considered a ‘target audience’ and hence provide them with a sufficient return on the investment.

Still, there is also a valuable lesson for anyone looking to earn some cash for themselves: get your marketing right, and there’s a healthy profit to be made in the anti-capitalism business.

5 comments to Marching all the way to the bank

  • Dan Hayes

    FYI, a man called Joseph Stiglitz is a Chicago trained, ex Stanford now at the Hoover Institute economist who is a former head of the World Bank. No suprise that he’s not an anti-globo wacko.

  • It’s called TREASON!

    I hear it’s awfully draughty in the Tower this time of year….


  • mojo

    “…a book by a man called Joseph Stiglitz which is called ‘Globalization and its discontents’.”

    Clever. A play on Freud’s “Civilization and it’s Discontents”, I assume.

  • cydonia

    I’m reading it. I’m afraid the advertising is accurate.

    The book is pretty dire stuff. A combination of Will Hutton style ranting and Big Government mercantilism. He’s pro-tariff, pro-world government, pro minimum wage, pro-welfare, pro-regulation of inter-state commerce and so forth.

    I’m reading it to try to get some sort of insight into the role of the World Bank and the IMF but so far I’ve learned zilch except about Stiglitz’s social democratic big government preferences.

    The passage quoted in Amazon is about the only pro-free trade bit in the book I’ve come across so far.



  • Depressing, eh?

    On a brighter note, the book is one of number being blasted by a chap called Oliver Kamm on Amazon.com. He seems to on some sort of splendid anti-idiotarian mission, blasting all kinds of illiberal literature.

    Mr Kamm.