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AuthorDovring, Folke. author
TitleThe Optional Society [electronic resource] : An Essay on Economic Choice and Bargains of Communication in an Affluent World / by Folke Dovring, Karin Dovring
ImprintDordrecht : Springer Netherlands, 1971
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Descript X, 107 p. online resource


Long before today's electronic media made us aware of articulate "world opinions" across the globe, there were other dramatic international comยญ munications. One current of opinion was expressed by the many generยญ ations of different nationalities who "voted with their feet" and settled down in North America. To them and to many others, the hallmark of the United States since the beginning of the republic was the freedom of choice for common people. This image was inspiring enough to build up the free institutions which together with the country's open frontiers broke the hold of mass poverty. So, options brought to the masses are America's trademark in human civilization. Nowadays, when advanced industrialization and electronic media are penetrating the world and opening new frontiers everywhere, the chalยญ lenge from the optional society - often called "Americanization" - beยญ comes a source of global competition, imitation or opposition and shapes the profile of our time. What is the character of this new optional society so early displayed in the United States but today emerging in many other countries and comยญ municated wherever nations confront socio-economic problems of their own? Can analysis of its economics and communications reveal its interยญ national message? More than two decades of research in those fields and our experience as Americans by choice have made us try


1. The Key Word is Choice -- 2. Productivity, Luxury, and Poverty -- Productivity -- Acceleration -- Luxury -- Poverty -- 3. Competition in the Market Place -- Materials -- Gadgets -- Purposes -- News and entertainment -- Competition within firms and bureaucracies -- Options for jobs and careers -- 4. Odds against Equality: the Competition for Money, Freedom and Power -- Reasons for the degree of equality -- The very rich -- The poor in America -- Productivity and incomes -- International sharing -- The foreign accent in international relations -- Communication as income -- Power as income -- 5. The Political Arena: Options at Home and Abroad -- Alternatives of economic organization -- Some โ{128}{156}ismsโ{128}{157} in competition -- The balance of order and freedom -- The power instinct -- Public diplomacy -- Package deals, propaganda, and loss of options -- 6. The Urge to Conform -- Communication and social conformity -- The industrial pressure -- The lock-in systems -- Imitating the rich and the powerful -- The American suburb โ{128}{148} at home and abroad -- 7. Addiction, Drop-Outs, and Non-Involvement -- Physical poisons -- Monotony -- Drop-outs -- Flight from communication -- Non-involvement -- 8. A Balance Sheet

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