There was one moment though that got me thinking about all sorts of wider issues. Evidently (according the film-makers) there was an attempt in the USA in the mid-1970s by some concerned children's activists to increase the regulation of advertising directed towards children. The progress got hijacked by the corporations, advertisers and marketers however and the end result under Republican airhead president Ronald Reagan was the almost total deregulation of children's advertising.
The film then presents a chart which graphed the very gradual increase in consumer spending on children's toys, clothes and etc., during the 20th-Century. After Reagan's deregulation the graph depicts this spending rocketing upward at a much faster rate of growth. Now, this being a blog and not an academic journal, I'm going to write as if I'm 100% certain that I can trust the numbers behind that graph. (There's reason to do so after all.)
First of all, there's the conclusion that advertising and marketing work. We like to think that we're intellectual "free agents" who decide things on their merits. But when there's a multi-billion dollar industry that spends all day trying to apply the latest in psychological manipulation to try to extract the maximum of dollars out of us, and you see the increased spending on marketing and advertising and the correlation of increased consumer spending, you have to wonder how free we really are.
Secondly, I looked at the explosion of spending on children's products and I thought about stagnant wages and increased household debt.
Thirdly, I thought about the garbage being foisted on children, sedentary video watching and game playing, and the resultant increase in problems like childhood obesity and diabetes, and I wondered what a sick system this was.
And then I thought about how, even after they've been given everything they want, unhindered propaganda, increased consumer spending, fat, sick, stressed-out children, the masters of reality can't even provide the incomes, the jobs and wages necessary to allow us to pump our kids full of their garbage.
The system fails even according to its own standards. They want to destroy youth, they want children to make themselves sick by consuming their products, but they can't even give the kids or their parents the means to do so. So households borrowed. The banks loaned. And then the banks got even more greedy, their bubble burst, and the overburdened, debt-driven households were forced to bail them out.