Monday, September 11, 2017

A economia de serviços e a pós-verdade

Economic Roots of Post-Truth Politics, por Chris Dillow:

Here’s a conjecture: the rise of “post-truth” politics (defined by the OED as a process whereby “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals”) is in part the product of deindustrialization.

What I mean is that in manufacturing, facts defeat emotions and opinions. If your steel cracks, or your bottles leak or your cars won’t start, all your hopes and fancy beliefs are wrong. Truth trumps opinion.

Contrast this with sales occupations. In these, opinion beats facts. If customers think a shit sandwich is great food, it’ll sell regardless of facts. And conversely, good products won’t sell if customers think they’re rubbish. Opinion trumps truth.

(Finance is a mix of these. In trading and asset management, beliefs are constantly defeated by cold hard facts. In asset gathering, sales and investor relations, however, bullshit works.)

Isn’t it therefore possible that a shift from manufacturing to other occupations will contribute to a decline in respect for facts and greater respect for opinions, however ill-founded? In 1966 – when employment in UK manufacturing peaked – 29.2% of the workforce were in manufacturing. This meant that millions more heard tales from fathers, husbands and friends about how brute facts had fouled up their day. A culture of respect for facts was thus inculcated. Today, however, only 7.8% of the workforce is in manufacturing and many more are in bullshit jobs. This is an environment less conducive to a deference to facts.