4.11 The media and entertainment

Let's turn now from science and education to the media and entertainment as social enterprises. Our cultural focus still remains on "the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices" that we believe will define the culture of a green social democratic alternative to neo-liberal capitalism. But these have profound implications for the media and entertainment industries.

Let's consider some of the ways neo-liberal capitalism distorts the putative functions of the media and entertainment industries, namely to inform, enlighten and entertain. What can be said about the content of for-profit advertising that most of the media and increasingly the entertainment industry are made to depend on by neo-liberal policies? What influence do advertisers and corporate owners of the media and entertainment industries have on programs and content? Do consumers really get what they want? To what extent is the public manipulated to support policies that represent the narrow self-interest of powerful media and entertainment industry owners? To what extent is the public interest in achieving a more just, sustainable society undermined by private interests with a contrary agenda?

We are not here questioning the commitment to socially responsible professional behavior by the millions of journalists, artists and others employed by the private-for-profit media and entertainment industries. But isn't there a better, more reliable way to organize the media and entertainment industries? Every major bookstore is full of works by responsible journalists and media personnel arguing for a better way.

The essential questions are these: Can the media and entertainment industries perform their functions in the ways needed by society when they remain under the ownership and control of corporations that have interests contrary to those of the public? Are there ways to organize the media and entertainment industries that remove such conflicts of interest?

The logical answer to the first question is no. The answer to the second question is yes. Worker cooperatively owned media and entertainment industries constitute one alternative. Given the highly collaborative nature of these enterprises, this might prove the best alternative.

When green social democratic business charters are applied to the media and entertainment industries, what will be the effects on the content of the information and entertainment they provide? These are likely to be as diverse as the needs of those who seek information and entertainment.

In the moribund neo-liberal capitalist societies in which we currently live, substitutes abound for unfulfilled human needs. In a dehumanizing culture where human worth and opportunity is determined by income and wealth, unfulfilled needs frequently include companionship - including sexual companionship - and intellectual stimulation, including opportunities to learn with the expectation of employment that provides opportunities to use the newly acquired knowledge. The impoverishing, unfulfilling substitutes steadily dished up by the neo-liberal capitalist media and entertainment industries are more likely to disappear through the provision in a green social democracy of meaningful alternatives than by prohibitions on media and entertainment options. Occasional reminders of the experiences of those who endured the monolithic cultures established by twentieth century authoritarian regimes might be useful in this regard.

In the absence of advertiser sponsorship of media and entertainment, where should the funding come from in a green social democracy? The public pays for its media and entertainment in any case. Presently the costs are included in the advertised products that consumers buy, in ticket prices, in subscriptions (for example to print media and cable and satellite networks), by donations to alternative media and through taxation. These could continue to be the sources of funding, although some might grow in prominence at the expense of others, depending on public choice and public policy. A green social democracy, however, corresponds to a public policy commitment to effectiveness in meeting public demand for information, enlightenment and entertainment.

And to restate the argument made by us in other chapters of this work, a green social democracy is not a twentieth century solution characterized by state socialist and state capitalist governments. A green social democracy is a twenty first century solution in which government leads by directing business to prioritize human welfare and the natural environment over profit-taking and by supporting the participation of all in creating the new green social democratic cultural institutions. With respect to the media and entertainment, government mandate of taste would be a counter-revolutionary act, undermining democracy, including development by the people of the cultural institutions they need. So long as no harm is done to others, each individual in a green social democracy would have the right to determine what for them is the appropriate cultural standard and the right to influence others through public debate. It should be a lively society - one in which cultural institutions can be expected to play a continually expanding and developing role, consistent with an emphasis on quality of life, replacing the current emphasis on the unlimited use and consequent degradation of natural resources!

Welcome!

This website was launched September 1, 2010 in support of a green social democratic alternative to neoliberal capitalist policy and practice. The primary result is a work by Charles and Karen McFadden of seven chapters, grouped under the title, Towards a Green Social Democratic Alternative to Capitalism available here in pdf and html formats.

Below under the heading What’s New can be found the most recent materials posted on this website, including opinion pieces, book reviews, articles and selections from the 2017 edition of the main work.  For the interest of new and returning visitors, new materials will be included quarterly.

What's New

NEW & REVISED

Authors' Preface

1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

6.0 The socialism we need against the "socialism" of the 20th century

6.8 Additional concerns about 20th century variants of "socialism"

6.9 The people united!

7.1 Policy alternatives and political movements to advance them

OPINION

Charles and Karen McFadden, Is revolutionary transformation on the agenda

Charles and Karen McFaddenHumanity on the Brink

Charles and Karen McFaddenMovements of Resistance to Movements for System Change

Charles McFaddenTranslating Green Principles into Education Policy and Practice

Charles and Karen McFadden, The Role of Revolutionaries in the Labor Movement

REVIEWS

Charles McFadden, The People United for a More Just Sustainable Future

Karen and Charles McFaddenCan emergent early 21st century neo-fascism be defeated without coming to grips with late 20th century restructuring of capitalism into a global system

Karen and Charles McFaddenA Dominant Capitalism or a Sustainable Environment? Why we can't have both.

US CORNER

William I. RobinsonThe Crisis of Global Capitalism and Trump's March to War

William I. RobinsonTrumpism, 21st Century Fascism, and the Dictatorship of the Transnational Capitalist Class

CANADA CORNER

George HewisonWINNIPEG 1919 & THE COLD WAR

George HewisonArt Manuel - "Unsettling Canada

George HewisonThe NDP and LEAP

RECOMMENDED

From Climate & Capitalism
John Bellamy Foster, http://climateandcapitalism.com/2017/04/11/foster-a-resistance-movement-for-the-planet/

From Black Agenda Report
Ajamu Baraka, https://www.blackagendareport.com/story-charlottesville-was-written-blood-ukraine

FEATURED WORK

ECONOMICS

1.7 The dynamics of capitalism as a system and the limits of single issue reforms

2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

3.1 The challenge of a moribund economic system

3.7 Public banking: A cornerstone of a green social democracy

4.7 Economics and culture

6.5 Using the non-market economy as an opportunity to begin moving beyond capitalism

HISTORY

1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

2.0 Theoretical Perspective: Defining Green Social Democracy

2.5. Socialism and green social democracy in historical materialist theory

4.3 Culture in historical perspective

5.1 Contrasting a green social democratic world with the currently prevailing, but challenged neo-liberal one

6.2 Socialism and capitalism as coexisting social systems

LABOR

2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

5.7 Defeating neo-liberal capitalism: The role of social movements

7.3 Justice: Creating a just society, based on the right of all to a dignified, secure existence

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) applies to all work posted on this website except that which appears with authors whose last name is other than McFadden, in which case standard copyright should be assumed to apply.