June 21, 2006

Passive Unquestioning Consumers

Collie Collier, posted an interesting review of A Million Little Pieces on Collie’s Bestiary. The review, with a postscript covering the author's duplicity, is a good read. However, one point in the review caught me eye:
It is a fierce, lonely, proud independence Frey seeks, and for the first time while reading the book I could suddenly completely empathize. I choose those words deliberately, for I believe you must be forever fierce in defending your mental independence, especially in a society so thoroughly dedicated to creating passive, unquestioning consumers.
Successful business people don't want passive, unquestioning consumers. They want to create passionate, involved consumers who love their products. The most important question you can ask a customer about your product is "would you recommend it to a friend?" People who are passionate about a product will recommend it. Passive consumers won't.

I'll grant that we have a society dedicated to creating consumers. The basis of common economic theory is that the demands of the consumer are unlimited. From the wikipedia article on economics:
The basic model of economic activity is often represented in economic textbooks thus: unlimited wants are controlled by scarcity; scarcity requires choice; choice involves an opportunity cost (i.e., choosing one means foregoing the other); and the final goal is maximum satisfaction.
But consumers maximizing their satisfaction are involved in the process; they are not passive. Passive consumers can be picked off by competitors offering passionate alternatives. Posted by georgegmacdonald at June 21, 2006 04:40 PM