[FoRK] Re: The Solution

Damien Morton fork at bitfurnace.com
Sun May 29 16:39:05 PDT 2005

Jeff Bone wrote:
> On May 29, 2005, at 5:58 PM, Damien Morton wrote:
>> So why draw a line at all. Lets not make business investment in the  
>> wholesale changing of minds on the same level as business  investment 
>> in capital plant or r&d. Lets encourage business to  serve markets 
>> rather than create them.
> BTW, I didn't really recognize until the third or fourth re-read that  
> you're actually being semi-serious, here.  I'd say that warrants a  
> semi-serious reaction...

Thanks for the consideration.

> Let's dig in.  What, exactly, are we proposing, here?  "Marketing" is  
> an easy whipping boy, particularly for techies who, like most of us,  
> have experienced the totally overwhelming anti-cluon zone that seems  to 
> exude from certain "marketing" types.  Problem is, "marketing" is  a 
> very ambiguous concept --- even (sadly, perhaps usually) to its own  
> practitioners.

Im proposing that spending on "marketing", being any form of promotion, 
dissemination of messages, persuasion, and so forth, from businesses, 
should not be eligible as a business deduction, i.e. tax-free. It is not 
tax-free when I call you up to tell you about this fantastic gizmo I 
just discovered, so why should it be tax free for a business to do so.

Im also talking about PR and other insidious forms of meme 
dissemination. All of those things should be taxed like any other form 
of non-productive discretionary spending.

> There's a scientific side to marketing, one that studies such things  as 
> the diffusion of memes and the adoption of new "technologies."   Are we 
> suggesting that we ban that, for fear that such understanding  might be 
> misused?

In general, the "best" products need little or no marketing. Everyone 
just knows when they come across a quality product, and when they do, 
they recommend them to their freinds. No marketing required here.

Marketing is the science of putting lipstick on pigs.

As an aside, I read in some marketing journal the other day that the 
best measure of the growth potential of any business service or product 
is the answer to one single question: "would you recommend this 
product/service to your freinds".

> Or are we simply talking about advertising?  If so, I guess we should  
> be ready to also relinquish Google, free television, and a whole host  
> of other things.  (Come to think of it, that might improve  television.  
> But regardless it's going to massively reduce our  choices in media, 
> among other things.)

Im talking about advertising too. But Im not talking about a 
prohibition, simply the use of tax law to discourage it, much in the 
same way that tax law is used to discourage smoking.

> I just don't think the cost of putting up with advertising outweighs  
> the benefits.  And ideologically, I'm not sure it's sound to try to  ban 
> it:  that action presupposes that people are incapable of making  up 
> their own minds in the presence of marketing / advertising  "data."  

Im not an absolutist in that sense, I merely observe that the goal of 
most marketing is to circumvent the free will that people would 
otherwise excersise. And it works - if it didnt, there would be no 
marketing. But thats not to say that people arent capable of resisting 
marketing, to a greater or lesser extent, but certainly not completely so.

> Perhaps I'm a pollyanna, but I like to believe that people  are smarter 
> than that.
> Despite all evidence to the contrary.
> jb


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