Friday, December 27, 2013

The Fear Industry.

Paul Krugman has an important op-ed in today's "New York Times." Krugman is an avowed liberal, a Nobel-prize-winning economist, and a professor at Princeton. To my mind, he more often than not hits the nail on the head.

His column today is called "The Fear Economy." It has import and resonance to me because I believe that today, we who work in advertising work in a "Fear Industry."

1. We are meant to believe--we've been told this repeatedly over the last two decades--that our business model is fried and failed and that virtually every form of media is dead.
2. We are meant to believe that we--the people that create ads--are commoditized and that our work can be done more cheaply in Bangalore or Buenos Aries.
3. We are meant to believe there's good reason wages have decreased (in real dollars) over the last few decades. While CEO pay and holding company-chieftain pay has soared.

We labor in a Fear Industry because the labor market is weak. The labor market is weak because a cabal of just three holding companies controls 70% of the ad jobs (at least in New York.)

The labor market is weak though the Dow reached new highs 50 times in 2013.

And corporate cash reserves and profits are robust.

The labor markets are weak because it's good for business to keep them weak.

Here's to a stronger 2014.

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