The Political Economy Of Advertising And Capitalism

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To understand how advertising may be seen as a vehicle for capitalism we must first understand what capitalism is. Fulcher (2003) describes capitalism as “the investment of money in the expectation of making a profit” (p. 14). Holms (2017) argues that modern capitalism is an economic system where needs can be met through the process of trade with a mind to the calculations of income or more particularly profit realised through the exchange of property. Meaning that a capitalist economic system works by investing in trade and also in wage labour, where people’s time and labour are bought with wages to create a product and then sold for profit. For a capitalist economic system to be successful it needs both the buyers and sellers to continue buying and selling.

While capitalism might be an economic system driven by profit, Holms (2017) states that it is not just an economic system. Capitalism can be considered to influences much more than just profit directed actions. This can be understood as the political economy. Political economy refers to how economic relations inform and are informed by other aspects of society and culture (Holms, 2017). It seeks to understand society as a whole by drawing connections between different areas of our world that are often only considered separately. The political economy of advertising results in a consumer society. A consumer society is one which almost every action we make is informed by acts of purchase and consumption. In a consumer
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