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The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
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kosko Offline
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Post: #26
RE: The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
(12-05-2012 09:09 AM)tenderman100 Wrote:  
(11-28-2012 09:53 PM)Athlone McGinnis Wrote:  Starbucks has a new $7 "premium" coffee. Jimmy Kimmel's crew goes out and has random people do a taste test between two cups of coffee to see if they can tell which one is the more "premium" $7 flavor.

In reality, the "premium" $7 coffee is not even in the taste test-they just took a regular, cheap brand of coffee and put it in both cups. The taste testers don't know this-they're told that one of the cups has the $7 flavor.

Despite the fact that they're only drinking two different cups of cheap coffee, people still somehow find a way to rationalize paying more for one cup over the other.

It is amazing how easily fooled some folks are, but it does provide some good insight into the machinations of a good capitalist/consumer society. Capitalize on the gullibility of the average folk and one can get them to consume en masse and yield a large profit without any need to provide a meaningful increase in quality/function.

You don't even need to really justify higher product prices yourself if you've got a strong brand identity-people will find a way to justify their handing you more of their money for that particular product, even if you've given them absolutely no reason to. In this case, Starbucks could market crappy coffee for $7 and still have folks convincing themselves that it has a "richer" flavor, or some other BS.

Regardless of what they come up with, the producers are getting paid, especially with a little bit of clever marketing added on. Human gullibility is a powerful moneymaking tool when exploited properly.

I like Athlone, he is a great contributor to the forum, but here's my reaction.

So fuckin what?

In fact, I think it's great that Starbucks can do this. You know what that means? More barista jobs for the useless college grads who get BAs in Feminist Studies and Communications.

Seriously, it's a bit of old hat to say capitalism is manipulative and, by inference, bad bad BAD!! because it gets people to do things they really shouldn't want to do. Guess what? People will ALWAYS fuckin' do what they really shouldn't want to do. It's inherent in the species.

Capitalism has done a lot of other things. For example it has given us

--Steel
--the telephone

--dishwashers
--Great cars today that don't break down
--Laser color printers under $500
--fantastic choices in restaurants
--ATMs
--computers under $500 today that would have cost $50,000 25 years ago.

Really, the list could go on and on and on. Remember, I am 60. I remember how things used to be when I was a kid. And you know how things used to be?

They used to suck.

Your choices in food, clothing, and entertainment were limited. (We thought it was a miracle when UHF channels came into being).

You would never call long distance because it would cost a small fortune. And get your index finger ready, because you had to spin the dial.

To get cash you had to stand in line at the bank.

In college, I wrote my papers on a manual typewriter. When I got an electric typewriter, I thought it was the greatest thing ever.

On a winter's day you had to go out and warm up your car, and there was always a chance with its antiquated carbuerator technology, it wouldn't start. Of course, in order to do so you had to shovel by hand the 3 feet of snow on your sidewalk to get to your fuckin' car because no one had snowblowers.

Again, I could on, but you get the point.

Capitalism is about providing products and services to people, to give people choices -- and, yes, to allow the providers of those products and services to get rich. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, it's the worst economic system except for all the others.

If somebody wants to market $7 coffee, and someone wants to buy it, be my fuckin' guest. This is what makes modern society, and the United States of American, great.

Monopolies gave you the first two whom were as far from Capitalist as you can get.

In regards to the spirit of competition yes you have an abundance of Resturants to choice from but many serve unhleathy and cheap quality food due to Capitalism leeching over into the food crop and processing market.

Cheap goods is more a product of plunging wages and companies seeking out the lowest of the low in the backwaters of China and Indonesia.

America never has experienced true capitalism. It has always been rigged or aided by Government. The illusion of "free markets" is that they even exist in the first place. Even during America's golden years post WW II you had Government subsidizing large segments of the economy leaving consumers with a boatload of cash in hand to go chance consumer goods. This was industries hay day but was a mirage and fraud in terms of being "free". Government created the middle class to keep Americans from being lured in by the prospects of Communism, another Government creation.

Maybe in the early 1900's was the only time when Capitalism was true free for all, but past that its been slowly and slowly dwindling into to what we have no post 1971 as nothing more than central controlled economy. Corps like Starbucks take advantage of this by serving shitty products to people whom use credit/debt to purchase it. Very few are using real money to buy this shit, people of high capital will indeed drink Starbucks but usually have found something of similar or higher price superior in quality. I remember the old Coffee shop across from my old Apartment. It was pricey as hell and was bull of the Volvo and BMW crowd. They would serve in grab their drinks and bounce, I could barley even afford a cookie in their but supposedly their quality was top notch and were a staple of the community. High capital people will always seek this shit out, they are on top and chasing trends does not apply to them, or its simply morphed into another realm where they chance better quality with more exclusivity - Starbucks offers none of those attributes.

But aside from my knock on the American "free enterprise" system I will say that America is the easiest place to monetize an idea. An idea on paper and the ability to chase capital to fund that idea bullshit or something worthwhile, no where else can it be done as easily.
12-05-2012 01:36 PM
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HiFlo Offline
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Post: #27
RE: The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
Capitalism has reached the tipping point years ago and is force feeding us shit that's bringing down our quality of life more than it is improving it.
12-05-2012 01:41 PM
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BIGINJAPAN Offline
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Post: #28
RE: The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
I agree with Kosko. Although the US did have real capitalism until 1913, which we all know what happened then. You can't have true capitalism when a central power sets the price of money. Nothing distorts an economy more than set interest rates. Oh and of course never ending increase in the money supply.

Also looks like QE4 is coming next week already. Get some gold and silver

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12-05-2012 01:47 PM
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NYJ Offline
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RE: The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
(12-05-2012 01:47 PM)BIGINJAPAN Wrote:  Also looks like QE4 is coming next week already. Get some gold and silver

So the last 3 quantitative easings have done nothing and they're getting ready to do a 4th? How much longer till we need 4 of these to buy a gallon of gas?

[Image: Zimbabwe-One-Hundred-Tril-001.jpg]

(Might be just a bit of a strech)

Reppin the Jersey Shore.
(This post was last modified: 12-05-2012 02:20 PM by NYJ.)
12-05-2012 02:20 PM
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Excelsior Offline
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RE: The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
(12-05-2012 09:09 AM)tenderman100 Wrote:  I like Athlone, he is a great contributor to the forum, but here's my reaction.

So fuckin what?

In fact, I think it's great that Starbucks can do this. You know what that means? More barista jobs for the useless college grads who get BAs in Feminist Studies and Communications.

Seriously, it's a bit of old hat to say capitalism is manipulative and, by inference, bad bad BAD!! because it gets people to do things they really shouldn't want to do. Guess what? People will ALWAYS fuckin' do what they really shouldn't want to do. It's inherent in the species.

Your inference, not mine. I made no such claim.

Here is what I did say: Well-practiced capitalism can profit through the manipulation of gullible folks (the masses, or "sheeple" as in the thread title). I did not claim that a) this is inherently evil, b) this means we need to be trying other economic systems out or c) that there is a better system available.

I merely found a blatant display of the system's machinations and decided to make a post about it because I found the direct, uncensored insight to be fascinating. That is all. This was not intended to be a veiled anti-capitalist rant.

That being said, you're free to continue engaging conclusions I did not make, so long as you acknowledge that they are not actually mine.

(12-05-2012 12:02 PM)Newb#3 Wrote:  You can add value to someone's life without improving function/quality.

As long as those guys THINK they're having a better coffee, then you have added value.

In theory, I suppose this can be true. Then again, it doesn't seem inconsistent with what I actually said:

Quote:Capitalize on the gullibility of the average folk and one can get them to consume en masse and yield a large profit without any need to provide a meaningful increase in quality/function.

"Capitalize on the gullibility" = make people "THINK they're having better coffee", despite no meaningful increase in the quality/function of the coffee.

Maybe you add some sort of value in the process (I did not state that a lack of functional/qualitative improvement precludes the addition of value in some form), but in either case you're getting massively enhanced profit at almost no cost. Hence the title of the thread.

Quote:Look, I think there are a lot of things wrong with modern Western capitalism (here and in the States), but of all the existing economic systems it's still the best, and sometimes you need to compare it to the other EXISTING economies (not some ideal one that doesn't exist) to really notice how great we have it.

Where in my original post did I make any form of comparison to any other system (ex: the "ideal one that doesn't exist")? Where in my original post did I claim that there is a superior alternative to capitalism that we ought to try out?

Quote:You look at it as a negative aspect of late stage capitalism,

I stated that capitalism can profit by manipulating gullible masses.

Did I make any explicit value judgment as to the morality of this practice in my original post? Did I state that there is a better way of doing things? If I made this statement, point it out to me.

Quote:I don't disagree with a lot of things you say wrt social/political issues, but this one I do.

You don't disagree with anything I've said because you're not responding to me. You, like Tenderman, are engaging a strawman.

I pointed out the fact that well-practiced capitalism can prosper by exploiting gullible masses. I claimed that this was a sign of the system's "genius". Nowhere did I try to claim that capitalism is an inferior system or that there is another system we should be trying instead. I merely pointed out an example of its direct machinations that I found fascinating (not immoral or impractical), and that is all. This was not an anti-capitalist post.

You lose money chasing women, but you never lose women chasing money.
12-05-2012 02:23 PM
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kosko Offline
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RE: The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
(12-05-2012 02:20 PM)NYJ Wrote:  
(12-05-2012 01:47 PM)BIGINJAPAN Wrote:  Also looks like QE4 is coming next week already. Get some gold and silver

So the last 3 quantitative easings have done nothing and they're getting ready to do a 4th? How much longer till we need 4 of these to buy a gallon of gas?

[Image: Zimbabwe-One-Hundred-Tril-001.jpg]

(Might be just a bit of a strech)


Just because your car dealership/corp is eating price increases to maintain movement does not mean there are not substantial increases. Many large companies have been eating the price increases to keep costumers from running away.

Go to your supermarket. Many food items have increased 35-65%. I shop for food quite often and pay attention to prices I have noticed steep jumps in food. You can sit and say (oh its just 75 cents). But Food is the first place in which increases happen due to fluctuations in the market or value of the currency. Food is real and tangible, hell a can of Campbell's Soup is performing better then a lot of stocks. Go look at the price charts of Rice to see how volatile its swings have been and all of have largely been due to speculation and currency devaluation.

The USD$ has lost 93-96% of its value since 1913 with its most rapid decline coming post 1971.
(This post was last modified: 12-05-2012 02:31 PM by kosko.)
12-05-2012 02:28 PM
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NYJ Offline
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Post: #32
RE: The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
(12-05-2012 02:28 PM)kosko Wrote:  
(12-05-2012 02:20 PM)NYJ Wrote:  
(12-05-2012 01:47 PM)BIGINJAPAN Wrote:  Also looks like QE4 is coming next week already. Get some gold and silver

So the last 3 quantitative easings have done nothing and they're getting ready to do a 4th? How much longer till we need 4 of these to buy a gallon of gas?

[Image: Zimbabwe-One-Hundred-Tril-001.jpg]

(Might be just a bit of a strech)


Just because your car dealership/corp is eating price increases to maintain movement does not mean there are not substantial increases. Many large companies have been eating the price increases to keep costumers from running away.

Go to your supermarket. Many food items have increased 35-65%. I shop for food quite often and pay attention to prices I have noticed steep jumps in food. You can sit and say (oh its just 75 cents). But Food is the first place in which increases happen due to fluctuations in the market or value of the currency. Food is real and tangible, hell a can of Campbell's Soup is performing better then a lot of stocks. Go look at the price charts of Rice to see how volatile its swings have been and all of have largely been due to speculation and currency devaluation.


The price jump on certain items have been pretty astounding to say the least. It's going to be real interesting to see what happens at the beginning of the year when we go over the fiscal cliff.

I love the irony with the currency almost losing all of its value from the year the Fed came into existence and onward.

Reppin the Jersey Shore.
(This post was last modified: 12-05-2012 02:39 PM by NYJ.)
12-05-2012 02:36 PM
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Giovonny Offline
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Post: #33
RE: The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
Welcome to the real world.

Exploiting the sheeple is how to get rich!

Don't they teach this stuff in the Ivy League?
(This post was last modified: 12-05-2012 03:04 PM by Giovonny.)
12-05-2012 03:02 PM
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CrazyBoy Offline
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Post: #34
RE: The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
Guys - basically it come down to this:

There's 2 ways companies make money for their products:

Product 1 - commodity product - low per unit cost, it’s considered low quality. Sell a shitload to make money.
Product 2 - premium product - high per unit cost, perceived brand value - e.g. quality, reliability. Sell a couple, and because it's expensive you make money

Apple has hit the sweet spot in that it sells products like the IPhone or the IPad, with premium product price and it sells as much as many commodity products.
------------------------
I don't know why people are talking bad about capitalism - it's the most efficient system for allocating goods and products. I don't think you should have extreme capitalism e.g. there should be controls over price of water, gas, healthcare etc..things you need for day to day living.
------------------------
There's also a psychological angle:

Let say you have mug on sale for $5 on a shelf.

If you put an identical mug for $3 next to it, the average person is gonna think it’s a piece of shit – why else it is so cheap?

If you put an identical mug for $7 next to it, the average person is gonna think it’s a superior quality mug – why else is it so expensive?

This is how you fuck people over, make them pay extra for the same shit!
------------------------
Another example is Monster brand HDMI cables – they can cost as much as $60. You can get a generic HDMI cable which does the same job just as well for $3!
12-05-2012 03:48 PM
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tenderman100 Offline
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Post: #35
RE: The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
(12-05-2012 02:23 PM)Athlone McGinnis

Your inference, not mine. I made no such claim.

Here is what I [i' Wrote:  
did[/i] say: Well-practiced capitalism can profit through the manipulation of gullible folks (the masses, or "sheeple" as in the thread title). I did not claim that a) this is inherently evil, b) this means we need to be trying other economic systems out or c) that there is a better system available.

I merely found a blatant display of the system's machinations and decided to make a post about it because I found the direct, uncensored insight to be fascinating. That is all. This was not intended to be a veiled anti-capitalist rant.

That being said, you're free to continue engaging conclusions I did not make, so long as you acknowledge that they are not actually mine.

Fair enough

Of course, you never came out and SAID the $7 coffee was evil or bad. But you have to admit there is a difference between

"Look, look!! people are stupid."
and
"Look,. look!! at how capitalism exploits stupid people."

Are you neutral then about the "exploitation" of people? Does it bother you at all? Or our you just an non-judgmental observer of the process of exploitation?

I guess I would have been less inclined to come to my inference if you said "Look at how a business can get sheeple to overpay for a product they don't need." versus "Look at how capitalism has the capacity to take advantage of the stupidity of sheeple."

Capitalism, of course, is not the only system that can do this. This ability to exploit isn't inherent to capitalism exclusively. Other systems, frankly, are much worse. Maybe we should see if we can get some good hummus in Damascus, and check out how systemic things are progressing there. Wanna dust off our passports and check it out?

In other words, you attribute this particular sin -- assuming you think is it sinful, or at least wrong -- to something systemic, which gives short shrift to all of the benefits the system has generated.

So I wanted to offer a corrective.
12-06-2012 12:11 AM
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megatron Offline
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RE: The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
How is anyone being exploited here?
12-06-2012 01:07 AM
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speakeasy Offline
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RE: The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
(12-05-2012 02:28 PM)kosko Wrote:  Go to your supermarket. Many food items have increased 35-65%. I shop for food quite often and pay attention to prices I have noticed steep jumps in food.

Yeah, I'm picking stuff up from the supermarket about 3x a week since I live right across the street from it. I've seen things going up recently. A 2 liter of coke used to be 99 cents a few years ago. Now it's $2. Same with Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving. I see boxes of Cheerios now going for $5+ a box. Wild salmon is practically a luxury item. I've seen bacon going through the stratoshere. Regular old Oscar Meyer bacon is now like $7 a pack at my supermarket. Shit used to be $3-4 a couple years ago. One of those roasted chickens at the supermarket deli I was able to get for $5 a couple years ago. They're tasty as hell, make a salad and some macaroni and that's a tasty little meal. Now they're $7.50.

I've got around this somewhat by using digital coupons my store offers where you can load up the weeks bargains on your app and it automatically discounts them at checkout. I've gotten some really good deals using this. I also buy in large portions when something is on sale. I'll stock on chicken breasts like crazy when the price drops.
12-06-2012 01:58 AM
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Excelsior Offline
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Post: #38
RE: The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
(12-06-2012 12:11 AM)tenderman100 Wrote:  Of course, you never came out and SAID the $7 coffee was evil or bad. But you have to admit there is a difference between

"Look, look!! people are stupid."
and
"Look,. look!! at how capitalism exploits stupid people."

Only if you choose to play semantics and tease out the difference yourself. For there to be a difference between those two, you must assume that one believes it inherently evil to exploit "stupid" people. I didn't say this, so it has to come from you.

Quote:Are you neutral then about the "exploitation" of people?


Yes. Exploitation of certain human gullibilities is not nice, but it is also not avoidable (human nature). We can limit the dangerous extremes of this exploitation that still exist elsewhere in the world (ex: child labor, slavery), but it will never disappear entirely. Some folks will always be taken advantage of by those more well equipped/aware than they are.

Capitalism (which generally profits from this exploitation) is not perfect, but there are no better alternatives (though I suppose one could have a debate as to the merits of one form of capitalism vs. another, but that's neither here nor there).

I don't actually oppose any of the points you made in your first reply.

Quote:I guess I would have been less inclined to come to my inference if you said "Look at how a business can get sheeple to overpay for a product they don't need." versus "Look at how capitalism has the capacity to take advantage of the stupidity of sheeple."

That's your call, so long as you're clear on what I actually said.

Quote:In other words, you attribute this particular sin -- assuming you think is it sinful, or at least wrong -- to something systemic, which gives short shrift to all of the benefits the system has generated.

Perhaps it is time to quit making assumptions?

You lose money chasing women, but you never lose women chasing money.
12-06-2012 02:17 AM
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Bad Hussar Offline
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RE: The Genius of Capitalism in Action: Exploiting the Sheeple
(12-05-2012 02:20 PM)NYJ Wrote:  
(12-05-2012 01:47 PM)BIGINJAPAN Wrote:  Also looks like QE4 is coming next week already. Get some gold and silver

So the last 3 quantitative easings have done nothing and they're getting ready to do a 4th? How much longer till we need 4 of these to buy a gallon of gas?

[Image: Zimbabwe-One-Hundred-Tril-001.jpg]

(Might be just a bit of a strech)

HaHa. I have one of those banknotes. They're out of circulation now, but the odd streetseller will sell them for a buck or two as a curiosity.

Ironically Zimbabwe now uses the US$ as their currency, since their central bank were so hopeless they just gave up and decided to use the USD.
12-06-2012 10:02 AM
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