Free Market Missionaries

Free Market Missionaries: The Corporate Manipulation of Community Values
by Sharon Beder [Earthscan]

Contemporary political life goes about its business under the spell of a whole collection of myths equating capitalism with democracy: Free markets are natural expressions of democracy, and pillars of freedom ... As more and more people become stock market investors, wealth is distributed more broadly in a 'shareholder democracy' ... Shareholders hold their corporations accountable to democratic values. Sharon Beder's new book goes beyond skewering these myths, and explores the history of public relations innovators and corporate propagandists campaigning to insert business priorities into the hearts and minds of America and the world. Beder argues that these decades-long campaigns, working through educational curricula, advertising and the mass media, have obtained considerable success in replacing democratic values of truth, justice and human rights with corporate values of consumption, competition, conformity and subordination to authority. An understanding of this history, Beder implies, is an important weapon for identifying, amplifying and creating educational and media tools to help break the spell and work for a true democracy. -jl

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey