How Corporations and Politicians are Profiting from “The Angry”
How Corporations and Politicians are Profiting from “The Angry”

Shared Anger. How “the Angry” are being profited from by the very people they are angry at

Alternative title: 2016 update on the state of Civil Discourse or lack thereof: How It Affects Everything, including Today’s Real Estate Market.

I know, not much of a title but, trust me, I think it is worth the read if for nothing else than to gain even more perspective. Sadly, “the Angry” are being played and profited from, yet don’t even know it. Here’s the  journey

Three Tipping Points have lead us to this situation: 

1.  We have an angry Donald Trump in the lead for the Republican party Presidential candidate by tapping into fear and other emotions (greed, xenophobia etc)

2.  We have the politicization of the affordability issue in the Vancouver real estate market, filled with anger, vitriol and “Open mouths with closed ears.”

3.  Terrorists creating videos ESPECIALLY designed to be disturbing so they will be distributed and shared through social media and exposed to as many people as possible (Why ISIS Is Winning the Social Media War )

4.  Nationalism and Xenophobia creeping (or rushing) into almost every debate – no matter what the subject.

5.  The constant “Hunt For Blame” rather than “Hunt for Real, nuanced solutions”

6.  The inability for any public figure, at what ever level, to change their opinion once new information is gathered without the fear of being roasted. Although we all understand that great leaders are always testing their own hypothesis. The ability to change your mind with new data or information is critical.

Frankly, our current civilization path does not lead to a very good place, and all of this can be traced right to a simple $20,000,000 investment in creating a new vision.

Dysfunctional has now become the new accepted normal

As with many decision that are made or actions that are taken there are unintended consequences that follow along with the hoped-for result.  Increasingly more often in today’s society it seems as if long-term or ‘unintended consequences’ are no longer even considered… speed of decision seems to win over careful thought.

We witness it in all parts of life:

* Investors buying properties without spending that extra time for due diligence or analysis. Followed by the excuse “The market is too hot – have to jump now.”

* Business owners making reactionary short term decisions for quick profit, without considering long term impact on their clients or their employees.

* Government Officials pushing their agendas forward (licensing of rental suites, increasing property taxes, eliminating affordable secondary suites etc) with only the initial consequence in mind. “Seen to do something” is considered more powerful than long-term planning. Populous loves these quick fixes because they are ‘understandable.’

* We even see it occurring in personal lives. People not eating healthy, then wondering why they don’t feel well. Treating their spouse poorly and wondering why neither are happy. Chasing the all-mighty dollar (or their own ego), only to wake up alone and lonely. Humans are the masters of “Justifying anything.”

All of the above can be considered ‘treating symptoms’ rather than the underlying ‘disease.’

Whether it be in business, real estate markets, economies or personal health. The search for the ‘magic pill’ to take and ‘someone to blame for the problem’ has taken us so far away from real life solutions it is becoming dangerous.

Mouths Open – Ears Shut

They are transparent but don’t think they are. One of the main indicators you can look for are those who avoid discourse and true discussion by talking/yelling their point of view (often repeatedly and often based in anger), then sanctimoniously announcing “See, no one listens to me!” (maybe it is because your communication approach pushes people away rather than insights interaction).

They are in such a charge about their issue that they can never hear a potential solution if it even remotely varies off of their chosen stance. It serves them more, at some level, to be angry. Psychologically it gives them perceived ‘purpose,’ ‘strength,’ ‘moral superiority’ most truly believing they are doing the “right thing.”  Physically, it gives them a shot of cortisol that becomes addictive. I know, as I was once one, many years ago.

Often these people have an underlying, often unacknowledged fear. Fear of unknown and a fear of a real life solution being presented and their platform/problem being taken away. Where will they get their cortisol buzz then?  Thus, their mouths are open and their ears are shut in self-preservation.

Yet, given the state of our national and international discourse, and the number of people who are now addicted to anger, these persistently loud ones are the people who are getting the most attention, thus fueling our trip away from real life long-term solutions.

From this increased attention to the loud and angry, decisions are made and policies created that have MASSIVE impact not only on those involved but also on society as a whole.

So How Did We Get Here? The Tipping Points

Once again, unintended consequences of decisions made previously have lead us to where we are today.  This is to not apportion blame, it is to show how, when the difficult conversation around unintended consequences comes up, it should not be ignored.

For instance, one of those decisions seemed benign enough when it was made back in 1980. The simple launch of a new way for consumers to access news and for the owner of the idea a $20,000,000 investment that has turned into a massive fortune. Sounds like a win so far.  But wait, the unintended consequences of this investment has led us, via 3 very clear tipping points, to the dramatic decline in public discourse and the quality of the message the general populous receives. Its impact is so far reaching it has lead to the world’s economic and political instability.

Tipping Point 1: CNN Plants the Seed, 24 Hour news grows, audiences divide. 

Yes it all started with a simple and ground-breaking idea called Cable News Network (CNN). An idea that was so revolutionary in its day that it was rejected many times before finally the financing came together for the launch.

Caught up in the enthusiasm of the idea and celebration, it would have been next to impossible to forecast the massive fall-out from its launch. “Unintended consequences, who cares? We’re going to inform the public like never before!”

By the way, if you want more background on the impact of its launch, you can read that here: (written a while back but even more relevant today both in US and Canada):

Analysis of CNN Launch: What To Watch Out For

“Gimme A Piece Of That!” Tipping Point 2

The success of CNN, and the international fame it brought to its on-air talent, brought the launch of many copycat stations. Each having to build a niche, create its own niche audience in order to stand out. This lead to increasing polarization of message (Fox News for instance), more ‘hyperbole of story’ and more opinion – less journalism… all in the name of attracting an audience so that ad prices would increase and make the business viable.

Both in the US and Canada the battle for audience waged and the stations found that people would stick around longer, much longer, for stories based in fear, anger or polarized opinion. This, of course, led to increased exposure to those with BIG personalities, BIG opinions and often BIG anger. Sadly this became the normal.  It turned into a reality show rather than expert journalism.

Of course, the obvious follow-on, like any popular culture trend, this anger and polarization was adopated by the general populous. “What we see enough times in media is what we adopt in society.” Sometimes that approach is comical (remember “MC Hammer Pants”) and other times it can be much more dangerous.  Anger, disgust and ‘hurt’ became a default for many. Heck, I caught the disease for a short while myself – it was contagious!

The more that anger got attention, the more it became the norm. The more it became the norm, the more it was tapped into. And “the angry” didn’t even know they were being played for financial gain. ( that’s the ironic part – many were angry at the very people/corporations/politicians who were ‘playing’ them and that continues today).

Adding Rocket Fuel to The Raging Fire – Tipping Point 3

If you are following along, you know what comes next. The launch of Social Media platforms that profit from the ability to allow ‘the angry’ to get their cortisol hits even more regularly AND anonymously. Ever notice how many of “The Angry” don’t use their real name or picture on their social media, yes there is a reason.  Sure, social media platforms do serve some positive purpose of connecting and disseminating information. But, just like electronic media discovered, without the angry people hiding in anonymity, traffic and therefore users and therefore ad revenue or valuations and therefore stock prices would be much, much smaller.

Yup, entrepreneurs once again discovered how to turn anger into gold. The new type of alchemy. The “Angry” once again filling the bank accounts of those they don’t even know. (Imagine how angry “The Angry” would be if they knew this).

Here We Are – What Do We Want To Be Known For?

So here we sit.  We get to decide as a society if this is the path we wish to continue on. It is true, we do get to choose. We can continue to let “the angry” drive our bus towards the cliff while corporations profit from their emotions OR we can start making our way to the front of the bus to take the wheel. It took 30+ years to get us here, so it won’t turn over night (and “The Angry” will find LOTS of excuses why we shouldn’t and they will tell everyone at the top of their lungs).

If a different path from what we find ourselves on is what we choose to do, its time to become:

*  Less ‘manipulated’ by the raw emotions that are being sold to us

* More mindful of how many times we are purposely distracted, often at our detriment, during each day

* Less drawn into the yelling and the cortisol jolts it gives. It is there to elicit a reaction, if you don’t react and just move on….

* More open to discussion, learning new facts, discovering new approaches and being OK with changing your mind or adopting an idea you previously rejected, when new facts warrant it.

* Less accepting of our political leaders tapping into our emotions so we don’t use our brains to consider consequences of decisions

* More small incremental, or large and dramatic, steps back towards intelligent discourse, farther away from polarization

* Less addicted to the tools, apps and people who use anger to fuel their personal gains or personal bank accounts

* More civil because, really, that is the base of civilization. And the world could definitely use a lot more ‘civilization’ right now.

Anger is rampant and look where it got us… there are BIG issues we need to deal with – locally, nationally and internationally. Once we decide how we, as a society, wish to develop solutions then we can get on with it.

Remember, when they do a study 25 years in the future to see how we dealt with today’s issues and possibly look for blame (as is human nature) I think most of us would prefer to be looked at as problem solvers, not a commentary in an academic paper asking the question “what were they thinking?”

P.S.  Here is an interesting story of what CAN happen when you push back from “The Angry” : Unsocial Media & Racism

P.P.S. This manipulated anger trend is so rampant there was a hit rock-song written about it in the UK called “Angry Mob” by Kaiser Chiefs (lyric quote: “We are the angry mob, we read the papers everyday, we like who we like, we hate who we hate but we’re oh so easily swayed)


How Corporations and Politicians are Profiting from “The Angry” was last modified: April 5th, 2016 by Don R. Campbell

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