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So what if it's a lie?

by afew Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 09:33:26 AM EST

Save the planet by spreading lies | Green Directory, Eco Friendly Products and Services, Green News - Green Pages Australia

"Puffery is one thing, but some advertising is simply lies, says Tappening co-founder, Mark DiMassimo. He points bottles filled with tap water that are labeled and marketed with water cascading over pristine mountaintops.

"This creates an illusion that it is superior to tap water, because that's what billions of dollars of bottled water advertising has claimed or implied. The thing is, that's simply not true," adds co-founder, Eric Yaverbaum.

Tappening has launched a reverse lie campaign. Go to StartaLie and make up lies about bottled water. Spread it through popular Web networks. Go on, it'll do you good.

But is this kind of thing right?

(Is it useful?)

(Do we care?)


Display:
Well I'm now spreading a lie via my twitter page.  And why not?  It will send people off to look at the website and then they may realised they have been lied to by advertisers!
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 09:44:35 AM EST
Which lie?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 10:00:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I spread one that was already there about a butterfly being killed everytime a bottle of water is opened.  Then I added in my own - Bottled water caused the Chernobyl disaster.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 10:49:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Both of those are scarily good.

Well - the Chernobyl one is silly, but that's not necessarily mututally exclusive with scarily good in this kind of context.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 10:55:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I submitted "Bottled water is a date-rape drug", but it was rejected. They have a blue-pencil word list.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 11:38:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wankers.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 11:50:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bottled water causes excessive
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 11:51:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bottled water causes priapism?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 02:00:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be a sales point. Think of the price of Viagra.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 05:11:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Bottled water causes ever-lasting impotence"
by Nomad on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 02:55:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of "every time blah-blah-happens God kills a kitten - think of the kittens"

The world becomes an Orwellian nightmare when the only way to fight lies is with more lies.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 11:17:04 AM EST
Not very good photoshopping. You have to think of the light and avoid cloning ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 11:34:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but the point is that this one reverses the role of the kittens and the demons in the original "God kills a kitten" bullshit posters I linked to.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 11:36:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am suddenly lost in a semiotic cave...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 02:42:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Domo-kun farts have been linked to Global Warming.

Fact.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 11:35:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"every time blah-blah-happens God kills a kitten...

Is a reasonably fair characterization of the God of the Old Testament, of which so many Christan Fundamentalists are so fond.  A vindictive, manipulative, sadistic, monster.  Now if "Every time blah blah happens God kills a CEO" were not so laughably absurd on the face of it...  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 01:04:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The world becomes an Orwellian nightmare when the only way to fight lies is with more lies.

I agree with everything but the tense of the verb.  The only defense we have for our tenuous grasp on sanity is to cling tightly to what we "know" is true.  OTOH, in a world where Gresham's Law, as applied to truth, dominates rhetorical discourse, perhaps turning the debasement of truth that has, to this point, primarily served those with power against the interests of those very powerful may give them reason to consider the nature and value of truth.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 01:14:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can take no comfort in that scenario. I take a position more like Sokal's
... I confess that I'm an unabashed Old Leftist who never quite understood how deconstruction was supposed to help the working class. ... (If science were merely a negotiation of social conventions about what is agreed to be ``true'', why would I bother devoting a large fraction of my all-too-short life to it? I don't aspire to be the Emily Post of quantum field theory.3)

But my main concern isn't to defend science from the barbarian hordes of lit crit (we'll survive just fine, thank you). Rather, my concern is explicitly political: to combat a currently fashionable postmodernist/poststructuralist/social-constructivist discourse -- and more generally a penchant for subjectivism -- which is, I believe, inimical to the values and future of the Left.4 Alan Ryan said it well:

It is, for instance, pretty suicidal for embattled minorities to embrace Michel Foucault, let alone Jacques Derrida. The minority view was always that power could be undermined by truth ... Once you read Foucault as saying that truth is simply an effect of power, you've had it. ... But American departments of literature, history and sociology contain large numbers of self-described leftists who have confused radical doubts about objectivity with political radicalism, and are in a mess.5
Likewise, Eric Hobsbawm has decried
the rise of ``postmodernist'' intellectual fashions in Western universities, particularly in departments of literature and anthropology, which imply that all ``facts'' claiming objective existence are simply intellectual constructions. In short, that there is no clear difference between fact and fiction. But there is, and for historians, even for the most militantly antipositivist ones among us, the ability to distinguish between the two is absolutely fundamental.6
(Hobsbawm goes on to show how rigorous historical work can refute the fictions propounded by reactionary nationalists in India, Israel, the Balkans and elsewhere.) And finally Stanislav Andreski:
So long as authority inspires awe, confusion and absurdity enhance conservative tendencies in society. Firstly, because clear and logical thinking leads to a cumulation of knowledge (of which the progress of the natural sciences provides the best example) and the advance of knowledge sooner or later undermines the traditional order. Confused thinking, on the other hand, leads nowhere in particular and can be indulged indefinitely without producing any impact upon the world.7
(my emphasis)

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 04:21:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
Confused thinking, on the other hand, leads nowhere in particular and can be indulged indefinitely without producing any impact upon the world

Unfortunately confused thinking can have a great impact on the world. To the point where the mass world view may be the product of confused thinking, and the physical world may be extensively damaged as a result.

This is why, though I hold to clear and logical thinking and its powerful extension in scientific method, though I think there are ascertainable historical facts and not just shifting versions of history, I don't see how it's possible to avoid thinking and working in terms of narratives, frames, social constructs, and relative views - simply because they are there (a dominant version of history is part of what makes history, and so on).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 04:43:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
I don't see how it's possible to avoid thinking and working in terms of narratives, frames, social constructs, and relative views
And I agree, but if we start fighting lies with lies to convince people that it's all lies, we've lost. That way lies madness...

I have called this the death of Enlightenment by its own success. The modern understanding of communication, propaganda, advertising, narratives, and the frame of cultural anthropology and cognitive linguistics is all the result of over 200 years of application of the scientific method to psychology and sociology. The triumph of the Enlightment methods leads to the discovery that 1) the Enlightenment itself is but one narrative among many with no special claim to relevance to human life; 2) it is possible to lie and distort your way to social and economic power; 3) the only way to fight the liars is to lie.

How can one not despair at this state of affairs? It makes me want to become a hermit.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 05:28:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is dishearteningly the case that the world has (after its magic) lost its freshness and immediacy, that we have left youth for age and have learned that no scheme of ideas is the next step on the road to ultimate truth. It's also true that pre-Enlightenment understanding that the exercise of power was closely linked to dissimulation (Get thee glass eyes, And like a scurvy politician, seem To see the things thou dost not) has now become a methodically studied system. Point 3 is surely an exaggeration?

In the Tappening case above, I don't see the exercise as seriously one of fighting lies with lies - more a facetious way of underlining the lies spread by advertising. My beef with it would be that it's preaching to the choir, not that it's despairingly showing that we have no other choice than to lie.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 06:13:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My 3) is an exaggeration of ARGeezer's
perhaps turning the debasement of truth that has, to this point, primarily served those with power against the interests of those very powerful may give them reason to consider the nature and value of truth


The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 06:34:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please note the "perhaps".  And that the goal was to give them "reason to consider the nature and value of truth".

If, finding one's self operating in an environment of debased coinage and lacking the ability to apprehend and prosecute but not the ability to identify those who are passing the counterfeit, it may be that the best immediate response is to pass counterfeit back to those from whom it came.  Of course in the final phase of debasement it will be only the victims so doing that will be prosecuted.  In the case which afew originally cited, humor can serve both to protect the victim of the lie and to expose the liar.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 10:36:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe I'm too cynical, but if you use these techniques to convince people that "it's all lies, think for yourself" you may end up with a situation in which people are sceptical of everything except of conspiracy theories... And then you won't be able to convince them with facts as they will think you're either co-opted or deceived by the big conspiracy.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 11:04:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You will know when the strategy has backfired when you are being attacked for lying but those who were spreading the lies to which you were attempting to respond are not. Differential power is your enemy here. Parody and satire offer some legal protection, but the temptation to use their techniques back against them is high, if, perhaps, ultimately unwise.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 12:18:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is probably worth a diary.

Firstly, Derrida etc aren't wrong. Political truth is an effect of power. Empirically, you can make populations believe almost any old nonsense as long as you have a physical power base and - optionally - a minimum of intellectual air cover.

The issue is how to challenge that. Derrida etc believed that you did it by deconstruction. Sokal believes you do it by speaking 'truth.'

Empirically, neither works. The world is not lacking effective, pithy and accurate critiques of neoliberalism. Obviously being right and scientifically accurate isn't enough.

It's also worth pointing out that historically, 'science' has associated itself more with neoliberalism than with minority support. Professional sceptics like Schermer have a record of boosting free market ideology. And while the scientific community has never had a problem mustering a gas giant-sized cloud of seriousness to attack trivia like spoon bending or astrology, there was nary a squeak heard about the collective insanity of free marketism and its manic depressive cycling, or any serious criticism of the new aristocracy that it supports.

If you go looking for formal scientific support for minority interests, it's not all that easy to find.

Empirical political research would be something else again. The Right has good rules of thumb for how to do PR and propaganda, and there's some psychological basis for all of them. But would a complete model of mind for political action and opinion management really be a good thing in a culture that's effectively being run as an aristocracy?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 04:47:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is definitely worth a diary. Pretty please?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 05:30:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I echo Migeru, this too is a diary-worth rant (like so many others of your longer comments).

But, I beg to differ on some points. 'Science' is too general to be associated with anything. Some think 'science' associated itself too much with... Soviet-style communism. US scientists certainly viewed creationists, and their political allies, as a threat worth to attack alongside spoon benders and astrologers. In the humanities (whose subject it is), there was certainly a lot of criticism of neoliberalism; the question is, who listens to them? Just as the neoclassical/Austrian school/whatever guys drowned out all other economists in the media, critical sociologists appeared at most as "biased leftist university elite".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 06:10:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's also worth pointing out that historically, 'science' has associated itself more with neoliberalism than with minority support. Professional sceptics like  have a record of boosting free market ideology. And while the scientific community has never had a problem mustering a gas giant-sized cloud of seriousness to attack trivia like spoon bending or astrology, there was nary a squeak heard about the collective insanity of free marketism and its manic depressive cycling, or any serious criticism of the new aristocracy that it supports.

Agree on Schermer.  But at least Scientific American is starting to carry a more diverse set of articles by economists, such as Nadeau.  Perhaps the editors are beginning to see that they have been had by the Neo-Classical School.  They are certainly familiar with Thomas Kuhn's work and its implications.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 8th, 2009 at 12:10:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For a beginning, it would be good to drive out what we know is "false" from discussions. One of the benefits of scientific peer review is that clear falsehoods are (mostly) booted from any argumentation. Wouldn't it be great if evolution or GW deniers, or political or economy shamans, would not bring endlessly their falsified points?!

On the other hand, as our world enthusiastically becomes more risky, we can less afford to cling only to what we "know". Did we knew the scale of this economic crisis? Well, some of us could reckon that financial flows and games would be unsustainable; we still not surprised enough with what is going on; and we even can add hard prompt energetic and ecological strains to global predicaments soon. But we hardly knew anything empirically, and our understanding was still a broad (even if reasonable) extrapolation. To deal with this uncertainty, we need to theorize more rather than less, and be ready to act on not-so-tight knowledge.

Then there is a question of confidence: the style of rational argumentation neglects a non-verbal show of confidence (or even suppresses it), why opponents lie with straight face. All the distrust of progressive type of governing developed from the politics of confidence show. It all comes down to communication, after all. If hyperbolic or ludicrous formulations bring a true point better than rational pleas, what can we do better? We should not be afraid to believe (rather than "know for certain"), and to show the belief.

by das monde on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 05:15:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Confidence.

Evolution seems to have "equipped" us with a tendency to believe that which is stated with seeming confidence and an appropriate tone.  Perhaps in addition to reading, writing, arithmetic, science and speech our schools should have courses in which the students are not only randomly but convincingly lied to with various degrees of subtlety, as they are today, but also graded on their ability to sort out the lies.  This could also be used to arm them against being told falsehoods that they would like to believe.  They would, of course, also have to be taught how to "go along" in courses in which it is not the point for the lies to be detected.

Fat chance that!  Except on the subversive impulses of some faculty.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 12:31:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
Perhaps in addition to reading, writing, arithmetic, science and speech our schools should have courses in which the students are not only randomly but convincingly lied to with various degrees of subtlety, as they are today, but also graded on their ability to sort out the lies.  This could also be used to arm them against being told falsehoods that they would like to believe.  They would, of course, also have to be taught how to "go along" in courses in which it is not the point for the lies to be detected.

oh man, that's good.

how to sharpen up the collective awareness in one generation...

getting 'raised' in a family where dad was adman was a little similar!

:=)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 01:10:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not so long ago, some of us were under the impression that modesty and openness are most valued by the society, while greed and assertiveness would never win. Does it mean that we were taking the role of "good guys", for the benefit of the bad ones? Or did the global society change so unconservatively that old wisdoms do not apply?

Universal teaching of bullshit recognition would be great. But isn't the modern society utterly dependent on all sorts of corporate bullshit? Isn't the effect of standard education to accept more of it? Who would stair education the other way?

Yet evolution is not necessarily that bad stupid. The modern absolute heed of corporate needs is not a normal circumstance, and it probably won't last long.  

by das monde on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 01:05:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the current organisation of production is completely dependent on all manners of corporate bullshit that makes us buy stuff we don't actually need.

But to go from there to saying that "modern society" is utterly dependent on it is something of a stretch. Production of goods is important, but it is not the sum total of society.

And the production of goods does not have to be organised like it currently is. It should be possible to find another system of production where demand is managed without having to convince consumers to consume ever more useless junk.

We'd have to jettison the delusion of having a "free market economy" for the parts of the economy that are actually planned. But that is a change in perception, not in reality, since the corporate bullshit makes a mockery of the "free market" anyway.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 02:21:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We'd have to jettison the delusion of having a "free market economy" for the parts of the economy that are actually planned. But that is a change in perception, not in reality, since the corporate bullshit makes a mockery of the "free market" anyway.
Ah, the [Galbraithian] Force is strong within you!

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 02:23:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Galbraith was an unusually perceptive man. The New Industrial State allowed me to connect a lot of dots (and caused me to revise a few previous hobby horses in light of the new pattern).

There's a very appropriate quib about it that Orwell puts in the mouth of Winston Smith in 1984: The best books are the ones that tell you things that you didn't know that you already knew.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 02:31:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are unknown knowns?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 02:48:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tons of them.

Data analysis is about finding unknown knowns: You have all the data, but you don't understand it. That is probably what is so satisfying about it. (See, that was another unknown known: I knew the Orwell quib, I knew the way data analysis works and I knew that both are satisfying. But I had never put them together before...)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 03:03:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Orwell's nugget of truth (more than a quip, imo), is that the books people put down with a feeling that they have read something exceptional that they will not forget (but life plays tricks...), are those that reveal something to the reader in an "Of course!" moment. Akin to the dot-connecting you mention above.

(The tricks life plays are that we can learn things, then forget them again. And in modern developed economies, an entire marketing, advertising, and communications industry is there to help us.)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 03:29:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only problem is that humans see patterns even where there are none, and tend to connect dots which don't have anything to do with each other.

("Ah, so they've invaded Afghanistan because of the Transafghan pipeline, that sounds just like those Big Oil Bush administration people, and Cheney was even CEO of Halliburton!")

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 04:58:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A good sanity check is that a model that attempts to be comprehensive should demolish some of your previously held beliefs.

In the case of me and Galbraith, the notion that there is a strong difference between the regulated private company and the public service got a rather heavy dose of salt.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 07:18:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Puts "nationalisation" and "privatisation" in an entirely new light.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 07:20:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep. What matters isn't public or private, but the internal dynamics of the firm and how it relates to other firms and governments.

Of course, there is still a difference, in that the private sector is steeped in a number of cultural myths that are less strongly present in the public sector.

And, of course, there is still outrage when a public official pays himself a million € a year. Which tends to weed out one particular type of narcissistic sociopath.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 11:18:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the production of goods does not have to be organised like it currently is. It should be possible to find another system of production where demand is managed without having to convince consumers to consume ever more useless junk.

In fact the production of goods CANNOT long continue to be organized as it currently is due to issues of sustainability and we must learn to manage demand so as to minimize resource consumption.  We have to learn to maximize quality instead of quantity, in goods and services as well as in our lives.  The good news and the bad news is that our educational systems and our poopular culture, (a serendipitous typo), need to be transformed accordingly.  Utopia vs. distopia depending on the outcome.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 11:05:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As a major consumer of bottled water, fighting criticism of it is one of my favourite hobbyhorses.

Q: Why not drink ordinary water instead?
A: Because it tastes differently, and not at all as good.

Q: But it requires more energy and creates more pollution!
A: Well, less than soft drinks, beer, or milk.

Q: But those are different, bottled water is just water!
A: Different? What's the bloody difference between flavoured water with carbon dioxide in it and colorouded flavoured water wirth carbon dioxide in it?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 01:42:57 PM EST
There is bottled water without flavour and carbon dioxide in it. Still sold with images of mountains. It doesn't taste any different from tap water -- because it is tap water.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 02:20:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They don't sell that stuff in Sweden. Buying that is a bit like gambling, ie a tax on stupidity.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 02:23:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are places where tap water is very hard or has an unpleasant taste.

There is also bottled uncarbonated spring water with particular mineralisation properties and a good taste.

And then there is Coca Cola's bottled water:

Soft drink giant Coca-Cola has admitted it is selling purified tap water in a bottle.

It says the source for its new Dasani bottled water is the mains supply at its factory in Kent.

The company says Dasani is "as pure as bottled water gets" due to a "highly sophisticated purification process".



The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 03:29:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually it is sold, I have bought it. And it is simply (preferably cold) tap water on bottle.

I would say that it is sold because of location, convenience and lack of publically accessible drinking water at some places.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 04:12:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The is a case to be made in favor of bottled water ... but only in vending machines. It gives an alternative to crappy, fattening sodas that are even worse for the environment, but worse for health. Let the industrialists make some money on bottled water there, or else they'll be pushing their carbohydrate drugs instead.

A 'centrist' is someone who's neither on the left, nor on the left.
by nicta (nico@altiva․fr) on Sat Aug 8th, 2009 at 09:02:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Q: But it requires more energy and creates more pollution!
A: Well, less than soft drinks, beer, or milk.

To which one could also answer that those aren't a good thing, in excess. Drinking bottled water when there's a perfectly good tap right there is ... strange. I end up drinking it when I'm too disorganised to have packed any (or enough) water. It makes me feel slightly silly, but less silly than dehydration.

Are you falling into the trap of defending silliness for the sake of it? To prove your un-PC credentials?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 02:55:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Drinking milk when there is perfectly good tap is strange too?

I'm defending this because I think it's just a typical idiotic upper middle class identity politics lifestyle leftist critique, where brand and posturing about "cool" things is seen as much more important than boring unsexy things that actually matter. Like water treatment plants. But hey, they're made of old fashioned things like steel and concrete, and they're smelly too! They've got lots os technology in them and they hence oppress lesbian miniority unemployed sculpters and further male patriarchic thinking, while destroying the third world, and whales!

Grrr.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 03:43:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's just a way for all these activists to feel good about themselves because they "are doing something". There's no logic to it, no quantitative reasoning, no reason at all. It's like with air travel. These people hate air travel (not that it stops them from using it, I guess they just hate it when other people use it). They never look at how big emissions air travel cause compared to other things, like coal power plants. That say China increases its annual emissions by more than the total airline industry emits, every year, is not relevant. Oh no, no proportions, just posturing on identity issues. It's the lefts mirror image of the gay marriage and abortion skit.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 03:51:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
</rant>

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 03:51:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bottled water is a huge marketing niche that gets a colossal amount of pure green nature advertising imagery that it mostly doesn't deserve.

Tell me how it's "upper middle class...posturing on identity issues" to point this out and encourage people to use plain tap water that comes from old-fashioned steel and concrete water treatment plants?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 04:12:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the time it doesn't, and when people buy uncarbonated water without a really good reason (like tap water tastes bad or you are a tourist and not used to the local bacterium, etc), well, those people are freaking lost anyway.

The same people who want to ban these things (around here anyway, where there is no uncarbonated mineral water) are the people I mentioned, and who'd become outraged if anyone wanted to ban their "organic" orange juice or wine.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 04:20:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a time when carbonation, alcohol or boiling used to be the only way to drink water without risk of gastroenteritis...

But nowadays, with steel and concrete water treatment plants, drinking carbonated water, soft drinks, beer, wine or tea are a lifestyle choice as far as hydration is concerned.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 04:26:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It sure is. So why should they try to change my lifestyle for no good reason, without changing their own, the hypocrites?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 04:33:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A case for changing lifestyle choices can be made on the societal/enviromental impact of said individual choices.

Unless the externalities are properly priced.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 04:17:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and I certainly didn't say the opposite above. But these people cannot even pronounce "externality". They don't care, they don't want to care, they just want to posture so they can feel smug and that they are the good guys with the "right" ideas.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 09:41:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You wouldn't be doing any posturing yourself, of course.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 09:44:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Provoking people (including myself) into challenging their unreflected upon beliefs by pressing discussion points further than you really believe in them is a useful exercise, but works much better offline. I feel you can't really manage that unless you do it verbally.

Your implication that I'm marketing an ET iconoclast brand is, well, let's just say I disagree with that. I rather think it's the natural result from being the most rightwing person on a solidly leftwing site. I just really deeply disagree with the people who hawk these kind of politics, both because their ideas are wrong and because they are so ineffectual that you might actually believe they were a diversionary tactic used by, say, wineries and breweries. (No, I'm not saying they are, but that would make them seem more serious, like the theory that the "peace" movement was supported by the Soviets.)

Ironically, I do the same thing at other discussion sites I frequent, except as they are more to the right I'm the guy on the left muttering about wage equality and the states role in the economy...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 09:54:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
Your implication that I'm marketing an ET iconoclast brand

Not really what I meant. I just thought you were laying it on a bit thick about "these people" and the motives you ascribe to them.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 10:43:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really what I meant. I just thought you were laying it on a bit thick about "these people" and the motives you ascribe to them.

I have been known to do that, on occasion. ;)

They really do get my blood boiling, and in real life this often leads to a 45-120 minute non-stop rant until I tun out of steam, to the mild amusement of my friends, as in "here we go again". I'm sure you know the feeling.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 10:56:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't see any talk about banning here, just countering abusive advertising.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 04:26:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And influencing consumer behaviour.

Hey, I have influenced my own consumer behaviour to minimize flying.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 04:30:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thankfully you don't live in Sweden and have to suffer through the infantile excuse of a public debate we have here. I guess the reason they don't talk about abusive advertising here is that, well, I don't think I've ever seen a water ad in this country. But as they can never think a single independent thought they've just copied this meme from "edgy" useless leftists abroad and mindlessly applied the ideological stance without any consideration to the local conditions.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 04:31:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
I don't think I've ever seen a water ad in this country

That might explain your position. What the people in this diary are pointing at is advertising portraying bottled water as "natural" and superior to tap water, when it is not necessarily, and when in some cases it simply is tap water in a bottle.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 05:07:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't begrudge Starvid bottled water.  Having endured the very-weird-tasting water in the UK, I can appreciate someone wanting bottled water, although personally I prefer the Brits' tactic of replacing water with beer.

The whole discussion doesn't strike me as coming from the right angle.

What I don't get about bottled water is how, knowing that tap water is better for you than bottled water (at least according to every study I've ever seen), why would you fork over the equivalent of $10/gallon for the privilege of drinking an inferior resource in a disposable bottle?  You could buy a Brita or Pur filter and a reusable bottle for the cost of the daily intake buying them.

Paying $3/gallon for the magic goop that gets you places in ten minutes that a hundred years ago would've required a month of planning is an outrage, apparently, protested by people choking on their $6 lattes from Starbucks or their $1.50 bottles of water.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 10:32:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Drew J Jones:
The whole discussion doesn't strike me as coming from the right angle.

So, er... What angle are you coming at it from?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 10:38:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The angle I would come at it from is that it's crappy water that costs way too much.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 10:42:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I'd agree with that.

The more precise angle the Tappening people up there are attacking from is that this mostly mediocre product is sold at a high price thanks to mendacious advertising that uses images of natural purity and greenness.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 10:47:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
would a country like Sweden ever need water ads, honestly...
by Nomad on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 03:00:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Denmark has plenty of bottled water ads.

Me, I drink bottled water too: I take a cola bottle and put tap water in it. That's good for something like three or four uses until it becomes too iffy for my liking.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 02:09:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You have not seen the ads? So you do not get some imagery if I say "hälsokällan från Bergslagen"...

You must not watch television then. Or you just watch public service to get your blood pressure up.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 04:18:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I don't watch television at all. I might if I got Axess TV on my set, but I haven't got that one. I have my unplugged 12 inch screen TV (not even one of those new flat ones) standing forlorn in a corner. The only reason I still have a TV is to get a chance to avoid paying the TV licence.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 09:45:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, well, if you look at sources of global warming and say 'but that source is bigger' you can always come up with something to excuse inaction.

Still, taxing flying and supporting HSR are more effective ways to deal with that than trying to create consumer guilt.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 04:09:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
nanne:
trying to create consumer guilt

is not the only communications option. Consumers are massively exposed to image advertising on bottled water or air travel. Why is it wrong to fight on the same ground?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 04:14:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In general regulation is preferable to these kinds of grassroots or media initiatives by activists or NGOs - specifically the kind of advertising reguation that you see in Nordic countries (perhaps part of the reason Starvid doesn't see too many bottled water ads).

The situation is complicated elsewhere because we live in a media environment and have a general discourse where bans on ads in which cars make trees grow and flowers bloom would be considered government intrusion on freedom of speech.

So there is a point - still, as regulation is better it should remain the ultimate goal.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 05:22:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree regulation is the goal. But how to get there when, as you say, we live in a media environment?

If we just wave the "this-should-be-regulated" flag while sniffing at attempts to score points within the media environment (judgement of their quality and likely effectiveness set aside for the sake of argument), I suggest we are comfortably ignoring the way the world works. The image-makers, meanwhile, go on creating their "reality".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 01:47:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point of counter-ads is not that putting tap water in bottles is bad. The point is that ads are bad. Bottled tap water is simply an easy target, because people can be made to feel like they've been ripped off more easily than with - say - cars or designer handbags.

And we have a saying in Denmark about cheap points...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 02:19:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An entire area of concern with bottled water that has not been mentioned is that of the possible effects of chemicals that are in some of the containers, such as Bisphenol(A), (BPA) and phthalates.  Both have been shown to leach from containers into the liquid that they contain.  There is serious concern about the possible effects of phthalates from baby bottles on infant health and BPA has been shown to have estrogenic properties, among others.

There is no shortage of available poisons for us to pick as our favorite, starting with the intoxicating ones.  My wife is fond of sodas that come in cans and bottles that all have these contaminants and I consume some myself.  But for those with uncontaminated plumbing to substitute contaminated bottled water for uncontaminated tap water as a result of an advertising campaign is to be victimized by poisoning for profit.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 8th, 2009 at 12:49:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This proves that ads can make us pay a lot of money, willingly, for something vital when a cheaper alternative exists ...

How do we do the same with gasoline? ie how to we increase taxes on fuel and make it a lifestyle choice rather than evil socialist interventionism?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 04:34:49 PM EST
It's the same thing as branded clothes. Sure, if the brands were the guarantee of some incredibly superior quality (I don't know, maybe Savile Row suits?) then the brand is a guarantee that you're actually getting what you pay for. These very brandings will then be small and discrete I'd guess, no reason to flaunt them as the only person who needs to know that the thing is of superior quality is the buyer himself.

But when the quality is the same or even inferior, why do people pay so bloody much for brands? Shouldn't the companies pay us for wearing their logos, just like they pay to have them shown on TV or billboards? I can't understand it for the life of me! J and Migeru, o oracles of economics, have you got any ideas?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 04:40:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps you missed this.

Although personally I also like the Pavlovian rats and levers analogy - not that it's necessarily incompatible.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 05:06:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
oracles of economics, have you got any ideas?
Standard economics states that advertising plays an informative role in the market and otherwise completely ignores the uncomfortable questions of why firms invest so much in advertising or how much return they get from their advertisement investment.

This view of advertising is demolished by JK Galbraith in The New Industrial State, which I thought you were reading?

Basically Galbraith claims (if I am not mistaken this is a key part of what he calls the "revised sequence") that firms manage consumer demand through a variety of means and that advertising is a key way to both create needs and maintain a level of demand for them.

Obviousle since standard microeconomics takes consumer sovereignty as axiomatic, an analysis of how firms control consumer demand is anywhere between nonsense or anathema, depending on how well a neoclassical economist understands the extent to which Galbraith's view of advertising threatens the foundations of standard microeconomics.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 04:16:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This view of advertising is demolished by JK Galbraith in The New Industrial State, which I thought you were reading?

Haven't gotten to that part yet, the book is pretty dense. Not really the kind where you read each page in 30 seconds.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 09:57:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But it is the kind of book that you don't really have to read linearly. You could skip to the chapter on advertising today, since the subject came up.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 09:59:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the advantages of using an exclusive water closet is the little library of non-linear books in there that can be perused at leisure.

Oliver Stutchbury, who built Save & Prosper in the Sixties and Seventies (and also wrote tomes on the use of principle, unit trust management and capital taxes) kept the entire UK Tax code in his little room. He told me it was quite a strain to read them.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 10:12:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Economists tend to focus on the elasticity of advertising in getting a customer to purchase a given item rather than a competing item, to downplay demand creation, and to completely ignore the meta level (the 24/7 propaganda machine to go out and buy stuff that is the advertising industry).
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 10:50:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nanne:
the 24/7 propaganda machine to go out and buy stuff and feel happy, strong, sexy and free that is the advertising industry

Important addendum.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 03:45:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Back in the long long ago, there used to be gasoline brands, and gasoline commercials ("Exxon puts a tiger in your tank!"). For some reason that fell out of favor. Might it be because gasoline is commoditized and comes just from a single source? I mean, they've managed to take premium prices for so called "green electricity".

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 04:43:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect the generalisation of the motor vehicle culture along with a prolonged period of cheap oil changed the nature of the marketing (as profit margins fell).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 01:52:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Put the question to the marketing and ad people, and they'll come up with a response. But who will pay for this? Arguably it should be the taxing authority which takes a much bigger slice of the cake than the oil companies themselves.

So by all means let's argue for higher petrol taxes. But also that a percentage of the tax be ring-fenced for communications purposes.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 01:57:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I was researching the Bolivian water war a few years ago, I read a few things which said, initially, that bottled water itself was a long-term marketing strategy, to get people used to the idea of paying for water, then it just took off.  Can't remember the sources and it's a bit late to try to dig them up, but an interesting aspect to bear in mind I think.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 6th, 2009 at 05:51:49 AM EST
...for I have bought two 8-litre bottles of still water.

In my discharge, there was a burst water main on my street on Friday and it looked like we might have been left with no water for the weekend. Luckily it was fixed...

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 9th, 2009 at 05:29:46 AM EST


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