I was reading a post on how advertising manipulates preferences, or in other words it gives us mis-information, leading us to make the wrong choices. At the same time I was thinking about porn, and that lead me to tie the two together and discuss how porn may lead to manipulation.
Now in the advertising case, the manipulation was caused by mis-information, which made us make the wrong choice even when the ‘right’ choice was avaliable. The manipulation of people in the porn industry is very different. People who are manipulated into a life of making porn movies may not be mis-informed, they may well be making the best choice of their avaliable options. However, some of these individuals may be making this choice because all other reasonable alternatives have been closed off to them.
So we have two different types of manipulation. Type 1 manipulation is where someone has a full choice set, but some other player influences their belief structure in such a way, so that they make a sub-optimal choice. Type 2 manipulation is where someone is unfairly constraining this persons choice set, and the persons’ choice is is constrained by action. These two types of manipulation are completely different, the Type 1 manipulation does not seem as serious to me, as with research a person could overcome it. Type 2 manipulation does concern me, I don’t like to see people choice sets too heavily constrained.
Government policy help solve both these types of market failure. The government tries to prevent mis-information and provide informationk. Furthermore, the idea of the welfare state and universal education help expand peoples choice sets, while police try to prevent one person limitting anothers choice set unfairly. Another awesome score for our hypothetical, normative, and imaginary government.