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June 18, 2005

A sentimental education for Philips

Philips has blamed “poor consumer sentiment” for limiting its plans for growth. Gerard Kleisterlee, Philips' CEO, told the Financial Times (16 June page 21) that “Europe is suffering from a weakened consumer retail environment”. Wrong, Mr K. Europe is not suffering, it is recovering from the false consciousness peddled by your company. You have been trying to foist the consumer electronic equivalent of SUVs onto us - but we don't need them, and will not buy them.

Posted by John Thackara at June 18, 2005 06:34 PM


As an avid fan of your work and, for the most part, your opinions, I just quickly thought that I would use this moment to make a slight correction to the article that you linked - by Paul Street. It was in fact Robert Lane, not Michael Lane who wrote "The Loss of Happiness in Market Democracies". Though I applaud the fact that there are others who feel that the "economic fallacy" of the belief that materialist wealth is equivilant to well-being, are still writing about it.

Posted by: Ian Crawford at June 26, 2005 02:10 PM

What false consciousness might that be? And is it falser that others?
I like the term "consumer electronic equivalent of SUVs", but what products are we talking about here? Lightbulbs? Defibrillators? Coffeemakers?
Btw, the linked article speaks of the USA, Europe isn't mentioned.

Posted by: frank at July 1, 2005 01:22 PM

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