Ralph does a deep dive into the commercialization of childhood with Dr. Susan Linn, psychologist, and author of “Who’s Raising the Kids? Big Tech, Big Business, and the Lives of Children.” Plus, Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, fills us in on their campaign to end the tenure of Louis DeJoy, the Trump-appointed Post Master, who is trying to dismantle the US Postal Service.
Dr. Susan Linn is an author, psychologist, and award-winning ventriloquist. She was the Founding Director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (now known as Fairplay), and she is a world-renowned expert on creative play and the impact of media and commercial marketing on children. Her latest book is Who’s Raising The Kids? Big Tech, Big Business and the Lives of Children.
The combination of this incredibly compelling and sophisticated and seductive technology and unregulated capitalism is already terrible for children— and it’s going to get even more terrible. And one of the things that I think it’s important for people to remember is that commercialism, or advertising and marketing— which is what all these devices we love so much were basically made for— that it doesn’t just sell products. It sells values and behaviors. And the values of commercial culture— “me first”, materialism, image is more important than anything else—those values are so harmful to society.
Dr. Susan Linn
It’s enraging — at a time when books are being banned, teachers and librarians are being silenced and can’t talk to kids about important things— that the tech companies are pretty much unregulated and can say basically anything they want to children.
Dr. Susan Linn
Every major religion in the world, thousands of years ago, warned their adherents not to give too much power to the merchant class. Because the commercial motive is relentless and all-encompassing. It will destroy or co-opt other civic values that are far more important for society to sustain.
Robert Weissman is a staunch public interest advocate and activist, as well as an expert on a wide variety of issues ranging from corporate accountability and government transparency, to trade and globalization, to economic and regulatory policy. As the President of Public Citizen, Weissman has spearheaded the effort to loosen the chokehold corporations and the wealthy have over our democracy.
You can’t cut [the USPS] down to save it, you have to expand it and make it more robust. Its significance in American history and its future depends on it being a network that connects all of us and does so efficiently. So, the more you reduce it, the less chance it has to be relevant to the lives of Americans.
Support for the government and federal agencies is stronger than people realize, among the public. Most of the public supports most of what the federal government does— at least when they do it well. But support for the Postal Service is through the roof. And it’s in significant part, because it may be that a lot of the “elite opinion makers” themselves don’t personally rely on as much on the postal service and the post offices around the country as regular people do.
DeJoy is playing the Republican game: You undermine public services as the reason to argue for corporatizing them.