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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 5 page 05


Tax the adman, save the planet

by Regus Warouski

Here are three aspects of marketing and advertizing:

  1. They assault your free will and peace of mind.
  2. They create a world of lies.
  3. They encourage over-consumption which means destroying the planet. Period. End of story.

Now, I know you can’t shut down all that marketing immediately because the corporations will threaten that you are going to lose your job because you are preventing them from running all the ads they want to run in order to make you work as much as they want you to work in order to earn the wages they pay you to buy the amount of stuff they want you to buy. They will crush you utterly with their financial and media might.

To shut these agents of evil down, it will be necessary to have a transition period. A good way to start is to levy taxes on advertizing.

Advertisers take our whole age-old language and culture and use and abuse it for free. Their visual and audio messages travel through the common airspace that belongs to all of us. They set up shop on public property. It’s time for us to collect rent.

The highest taxes should apply to the most noxious categories such as junk food ads, movie trailers showing people shooting each other, or car ads that neglect to mention how many people cars kill per day.

The very existence of marketing means that a portion of society’s resources, including many of your normal-looking fellow humans, are dedicated to tricking you into purchasing their products so they can high-five each other about their brilliant strategies for manipulating you.

Advertizers create a glittering false world which makes people in the formerly real world conform to the standards of the false world. That’s why they have so many models pretending to epitomize a worry-free consumer lifestyle that you should emulate. That’s what they plant in our brains.

Any corporation that is using models instead of a representative sample of the population should face an extra special tax, or maybe prosecution. They create general stress by validating only a narrow range of physical and socio-economic types. Probably their ads should be pulled off the airwaves altogether due to discrimination.

Any marketing plan that turns a religious festival such as Christmas or Easter into a consumerfest is particularly loathsome. They show how far we have fallen from the days when we had souls as opposed to the neural webs we have today. Ads aimed at children, shaping them into consumerists and sealing the doors and windows against any escape from the world of consumerism, should be taxed to death.

Some beneficial ads exist such as for conservation and recycling so they could be tax-free or even incented. Meanwhile, the tax revenue from the non-beneficial ads should go to re-designing our communities and building new ones more harmonious with our planet.

On top of taxes, advertizers should pay you and me specific individual fees if we agree to receive their ads, or if we receive their ads accidentally. If their promotion lands on my screen, then they owe me for using my equipment, and I want an even higher fee for letting their propaganda enter my eyes and ears and disturb my serenity and appropriate my time. Think I'm joking? I am not joking.

A lot of advertizing would probably disappear. At last, progress!