Means of persuasion

From Academic Kids

A means of persuasion, in some theories of politics and economics, can substitute for a factor of production by providing some influence or information. This may be of direct value to the actor accepting the influence, i.e. a bribe, or instructional capital to assist persuasion in some other enterprise, e.g. a patent or license to same which persuades a competitor to avoid patent infringement or to partner with the holder.

Or, it can be leverage applied via some political economy or prior-to-economic means, such as offering or withdrawing a means of protection or other military or political favors. In this form it is sometimes called political capital, an alternate term that is more narrowly applied.

In modern macroeconomics there is more emphasis on the role of political factors such as diplomacy, especially in the behavior of trade blocs. There is, especially in the anti-globalization movement, concern that the means by which nation-states are persuaded to enter into trade pacts subvert democracy - forcing nations for instance to abandon an industrial policy or investment policy or agricultural policy to gain entry to key markets. The means of persuasion in this case, it is argued, is poverty that results from high tax, tariff and trade barriers which can only be reduced by agreeing to the terms of the bloc.

There are also microeconomic concerns about persuasion. Also the mass media have made advertising more prevalent and thus persuasion is a more common factor in ordinary consumer decisions. Intense persuasion is thought by some to lead to consumerism, over-consumption and even pathological consumption, e.g. bulimia brought on by accepting adverse body image.

When a means of persuasion involves information technology specifically it is usually called persuasion technology, although this term could also be used to refer to military threats or other means of persuasion involving some asymettrical access to technology.

See also: means of production

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