Not as slaves like before, but as eyeballs. Attention. Quantity of people doing something. That's the whole basis of massive portions of our economy.
I just wrote about how Controversy and Distraction are business models, but what do we do with all that Controversy and Distraction? We take all those people we got to look at whatever it was we made, and then we sell them to someone else.
Like a crop, or a product.
We really, really like doing this. Anywhere you see a lot of people together in some way, someone is probably trying to make money off of selling all those people to someone else. In the U.S., the Super Bowl is coming - the ultimate example.
Shoot, we even do it with our schools. We sell our kids' test scores to the government to get money to pay the teachers.
What's the alternative to this? The Creative Beast says, making something of value. Not because it attracts a lot of attention, but because it has intrinsic value. This can sound kind of crazy to some people. I had a conversation with someone once who said that art has no reason to exist unless it has some economic value.
Yes, this is how far we've gone.
So I ask you - does something have to be worth money to be worthwhile? When does something simply benefit you by existing? We have a vast entertainment industry - and I love entertainment. But can art, and music, and stories, just be? Does money have to change hands for there to be "value?"
Your Creative Beast wants to ask you.
Added bonus: For a cool flashback to 1999 - here's Adbusters' "The Product is You" PSA.
I still have my "The Product is You" t-shirt.