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Mis-selling and misrepresentation as hope-mongering


Credibility Crunch engendered by Hope-mongering: "Credit crunch" focus as symptom of a dangerous mindset (Part #9)


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The examples are indicative of an underlying mindset of mis-selling (or over-selling) and misrepresentation. In the case of the military this has long been a characteristic of arguments made in support of defence appropriations.

The pattern of hope-mongering is more widespread however, as indicated by the following examples:

  • building construction: this is best exemplified by the manner in which hopes are built into construction projects for the Olympic Games. Typically initial proposals, hopefully presented to elicit approval, have subsequently resulted in cost overruns of such dimensions as to place the host city in financial difficulties for years, if not generations, to come. Other projects have later proven to have been completed using faulty technology leading to collapse of the buildings or the early need to replace them

  • information technology: there are numerous examples of massive computer projects, hopefully promoted by government with the complicity of the contractors, which have proven to be a disaster, requiring either their cancellation or unforeseen further investment over a period far beyond what was initially indicated

  • medical research: solicitation of funds, notably private funds, for health research is notably framed as offering hope for loved one's and the vulnerable. In many cases this solicitation has been demonstrated to be associated with questionable -- even cynical -- agendas on the part of medical research laboratories. Other cases demonstrate the traditional process of promoting the sale of "snake oil" remedies to the hopeful -- perhaps the clearest example of hope-mongering.

  • insurance: this has always offered striking examples of mis-selling to those hopeful of protecting themselves against unpredictable disasters, typically leading to the discovery that the risks were not as effectively covered as claimed (due to exclusions "in the small print"). This highlights the need to recognize the "small print" implicit in any initiative sustained by hope-mongering.

  • advertising: this has always constituted a focus of mis-selling and misrepresentation. The business of advertising might evenbn be said to be selling hope. As exemplified in an ad of the past: Buy a Buick -- something to believe in. The adverstising industry is however also quote sensitive to the counter-productive consequences of hope-mongering.

Of special interest with respect to hope-mongering are so-called pyramid selling or Ponzi schemes in terms of the manner in which hierarchies of hope are effectively constituted to drive the process, as discussed elsewhere (Presenting the Future: an alternative to dependence on human sacrifice through global pyramid selling schemes, 2001).


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