Advertising is evil and unnecessary, but humanity hasn’t figured a way to get rid of it yet.
No one likes advertising. It’s demeaning, annoying and costly. A lot of people however claim that it is a necessary evil, because without it the economy would grind to a halt. Or some similar poorly thought out idea. The truth is the economy would do just as fine without advertising, and sales would not drop. They would actually increase!
The reasoning behind the idea that advertising is driving economy is like that: company A invested $100,000 in ads and their sales jumped 30%. So advertising increases sales.
False. The 30% increase of sales for company A must have caused global sales of other products to decrease by the same value, because the total amount of money spent in the world has not changed. People just shifted their spend from B to A. Even if we assume that company A ads caused them to raid their savings accounts and credit cards and buy product A without reducing spend on other products, this is only a temporary effect. Eventually they will run out of savings and will have to repay the credit. In the long term, global sales stayed the same as if there was no advertising.
Or more precisely, the global sales dropped a little. $100,000 spent on ads by company A was wasted – it could have been spent buying something else, but wasn’t. So global sales dropped by $100,000.
Of course, company A does not care about global sales. Their sales increased! This is what matters to them. But did they actually increase?
No. At the same time, company B and millions of other companies in the world are running their own ads, increasing their own sales and reducing sales of company A. Therefore, as a result of advertising, sales of A might actually have dropped.
In reality, everyone’s sales have dropped (compared to no-advertising world). They dropped by total amount wasted on advertising by everyone.
It is embarrassingly simple, really. Advertising is like an arms race between countries. No one can afford to stop doing it. But the global effect is detrimental. If only we could somehow agree and trust each other to dismantle all warheads and tanks, the world would be a safer, happier and richer place. But no one has figured out how to do it yet. It’s similar with advertising. If only we could figure a way for everyone to stop doing it, we would all be much better off. Prices would drop. Salaries would go up. The TV would be more interesting. The web would be cleaner. The world would be prettier.
I don’t know the way to achieve it. It probably isn’t through some individuals voluntarily refraining from supporting advertising.
But no version of Survivalcraft has ever had any ads in it.
Not supporting advertising is not easy. You may even see some ads floating around in this post! Partially out of my control. Shudder.