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Q: Truth in society ( No Answer,   4 Comments )
Subject: Truth in society
Category: Relationships and Society > Cultures
Asked by: proffesor-ga
List Price: $40.00
Posted: 21 Nov 2005 02:09 PST
Expires: 21 Dec 2005 02:09 PST
Question ID: 595708
I am looking for material that illustrates the prolifferation of lies
in society. Anecdotes, studies... One fruitful area might be truth in
advertising. It has become so commonplace to lie in the name of
commerce that the consumer isn't even fazed by it, quirks like 'New
and Improved", if it's new it can't be improved, if it's improved it
can't new... One way of illustrating the point would be to find people
from other cultures who weren't brought up with Madison Ave
deceptions, and see their reactions to those duplicities that strike
us as normal.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Truth in society
From: geof-ga on 21 Nov 2005 06:48 PST
You seem to be assuming that "non-Madison Avenue" societies are more
truthful. I'm very doubtful. For example, take the many societies
throughout the world where bargaining over the price of goods is the
norm. Such haggling is clearly based on lying - sellers ask for more
money than they know the goods are worth; buyers offer less. Both are
lying; and know that each other is lying; but accept it as calmly as
we Westerners accept advertisers' hyberbole and distortion.
Subject: Re: Truth in society
From: proffesor-ga on 21 Nov 2005 13:46 PST
Good point. My interest isn't in defending or accusing one society
against another, I am looking for common day examples that would help
illustrate a pattern of lying that might therefore come to shape the
the consumer...
Subject: Re: Truth in society
From: geof-ga on 21 Nov 2005 14:44 PST
Fair enough. Having travelled quite a lot all over the world, I would
say that when it comes to commercial transactions lying by the seller
or provider is the norm. As you say, we in the "sophisticated" West
are all too familiar with the exaggerated claims of producers and
advertisers. But, if anything, the situation is even worse in 
"simpler" societies (partially because of the lack of legal
protection) where, for example, made-up bus and train timetables, fake
branded goods and broken promises of refunds etc are the norm.

However, to provide an example from my home country, the UK - though
I'm sure things are much the same in the US and elsewhere - I would
mention property selling. It would be practically impossible to sell
ones house or flat if one told the entire truth. In addition to
usually asking for more than the property is worth, one must omit any
mention problem areas; pretend that one has been deleriously happy in
a home one is glad to be rid of; and invent reasons for hurrying the
process along (eg the fictional other interested party). I personally
have tried to sell a flat while being open and honest; but soon found
it simply was not viable.
Subject: Re: Truth in society
From: bc3-ga on 01 Dec 2005 13:14 PST
You might find Sisella Bok's books useful: Lying: Moral choice in
Public and Private Life. NY, Pantheon Books 1978, and Secrets: On the
Ethics of Concealment and Revelation. Oxford, OUP, 1982.

Our cynical reactions to advertising has spread to political
discourse, as recent examples show only too clearly.

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