Manipulative practices

Ivan Illich talked about an institutional spectrum. [1] On the “right” are organisations which are hierarchical and manipulative. They try to manipulate their customers/clients into becoming dependent, into using more of the service. They are rules-based and the rules serve the interests of the organisation. On the “left” of the spectrum are organisations which are convivial. They don’t try to coerce consumption. People can freely participate and freely leave. They have rules but they are designed to facilitate the maintenance of the organisation.

Classic examples of “right-wing” institutions are: pharmaceutical companies, schools, much of modern medicine, the military and police etc. Examples of left-wing institutions might be: community based informal education groups, a small local market, small businesses which do not yet operate manipulative CRM systems, eBay (to some extent).

When, as a result of addiction, dependency and over-consumption, something goes wrong

US wars fail to achieve objectives but hey, they are good business.

Modern warfare has become a highly professional enterprise whose business is killing. It has reached the point where its efficiency is measured in body counts. Its peace-keeping potential depends on its ability to convince friend and foe alike of the nation’s unlimited death-dealing power. … The boomerang effect in war is becoming more obvious: the higher the body count of dead Vietnamese, the more enemies the United States acquires around the world; likewise, the more the United States must spend to create another manipulative institution – cynical dubbed “pacification” – in a futile effort to absorb the side effects of war.

Ivan Illich.