[iDC] Some notes on value...

Brian Holmes brian.holmes at wanadoo.fr
Sat Feb 23 19:14:47 UTC 2008

Hello all,

I'm quite sympathetic to the line of thought pursued here. The idea of 
the esteem economy is worth developing! But I'd like to ask a question 
about brands and freedom:

> in the self-understanding of
> contemporary capitalism, the monetary value of brands are based on
> their ethical values, their ability to accumulate mass affect.
> What creates these ethical values? [...] people pay to use brands in
> their everyday life and thus freely co-produce their ethical value
> through their constructive consumer practices. On financial markets,
> capital flows to the most attractive brands.  More means more in this
> case, if you have accumulated a significant stock of ethical capital,
> people will freely give you their time and further attention, or, on
> financial markets, their capital.

But how free is this when millions of dollars are pumped into 
advertising a brand, analyzing the consumers' use of a product and 
reaction to its advertising, then readjusting both brand image and 
product (not to mention product placement, store architecture etc) to 
fit closer to the model developed by the analysis? Hasn't the 
accumulation of mass affect been calculated and engineered?

I ask the question because there is a big emphasis right now on the 
freedom of people to do this or that with the net, at the same time as 
it is more and more flooded with ads and surveillance. And though I 
appreciate all freedoms, I am not sure they expand when you just ignore 
real constraints. Still, great post, great thread, this is just a 
question of detail.

best, Brian

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