The Century of the Self is one of the best documentaries i've ever seen. Using archive footage Adam Curtis told the story of how today's consumer society came into existence. Also it goes to show how we, the today's consumers, make our choices.
It all began by Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, who did consulting in corporate marketing. Using Freud's ideas Bernays created demand for products people didn't consciously need.
As the twentieth century progressed, these ideas grew beyond marketing and influenced contemporary politics. They remained between two poles, though. One claimed that people can't and shouldn't make their choices and needed guidance from those in the know. The other stated how we should be liberated by peeling layer after layer of consciousness until we find what we really want.
Of course, the truth was probably somewhere in between, but this hadn't prevented those in power from doing what they want. The joke is that eventually even the politicians started fulfilling the needs and wants of the voters instead steering them.
You might as well check Adam Curtis blog on BBC website.
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