Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Advertising and Its Discontents

Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Advertising and Its Discontents

Article excerpt

Advertising is the handmaiden of capitalism. It alerts consumers to the possibility that something exists and for a payment it can be had. It indicates to those who care that the price of certain items has temporarily been reduced; these sales draw in or seduce consumers so that both parties are happier: The seller earns more money than he would have had there been no sale and the purchaser thinks that she has gotten a real bargain. Newspapers depend on their pages being filled with ads. Postal customers would not know that their local supermarket has placed many items on sale, were it not for the enormous circulars that clog mailboxes, but which most people drop in the trash. The same is true for direct mail ads, which in the past were ubiquitous but have more recently given way to pop-up notices on our computer screens, and which almost all people find extremely annoying. Even worse are malvertisements, false online ads that trick one into thinking the "congratulations" really does mean that the viewer has won something. All school children should take a class in computer protection so that they can recognize scams when they encounter them. …

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