On today’s program, Vince plays Part 4 of Adam Curtis’ documentary, “Century of the Self.” In this episode, “Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering,” Curtis explains how politicians on the left, in both Britain and America, turned to the techniques developed by business to read and fulfill the inner desires of the self.
Both New Labour, under Tony Blair, and the Democrats, led by Bill Clinton, used the focus group, which had been invented by psychoanalysts, in order to regain power. They set out to mould their policies to people’s inner desires and feelings, just as capitalism had learnt to do with products.
Out of this grew a new culture of public relations and marketing in politics, business and journalism. One of its stars in Britain was Matthew Freud who followed in the footsteps of his relation, Edward Bernays, the inventor of public relations in the 1920s.