Sunday, July 17, 2005

Fred Cederholm and Marketing Flim Flam

Fred Cederholm, CPA/CFE, is a forensic accountant and regular columnist in The Weekly Observer in Creston (Ogle County), Illinois, USA. He also is regularly syndicated in VHeadline, published from Houston, Texas, an on-line outlet, also featuring in Venezuela (where “remains 100% independent of all political factions in Venezuela” – not surprising considering the volatile political situation there).

His article published on Sunday, 17 July, heads with:

“Stimulation, automobiles, consumer durables, housing, diplomacy and Adam Smith”

Looks promising as he opens with:

“I’ve been thinking about incentives ... stimulation, automobiles, consumer durables, housing, diplomacy and Adam Smith. We are half way through the summer of 2005 and things are really heating up, but I’m not talking about the weather temperatures.”

Then follows Fred’s spirited critique of modern marketing, promotions, special offers and so on. Fred is an accountant and accountants do not like the money spent on marketing flim flam at all, hence marketing, US style must drive them nuts at its extravagant waste.

He ends with:

“If there is a need, the market will fill it and all will benefit. It is the invisible hand, which should drive economies, sales, and prices, not the invisible/visible handouts of governments, retailers, and manufacturers on a perpetual basis.
If things are so good, why must we still keep priming the pump?”

That’s a fair point. But why, oh why, does Fred drag in Adam Smith’s name and the invisible hand? Is it dim memories of Economics 101, where badly taught tutors pass on the myths about Adam Smith that they learned as undergraduates? Can nobody write about modern markets in the US without linking them to the so-called invisible hand which was not about markets anyway?

(New visitors may scroll down the page and see how often I comment on the misuse of the invisible hand and Smith’s name.)


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