As suggested by various public intellectuals, for example Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky, in the videos viewed on the topic of the corporation within a free market economic context, corporations are guilty of promoting a consumerist ideology influencing how we construct our social relations. This point can be quickly understood by considering how much of our social relations are defined by our consumer purchases and what products or services we use in our everyday lives. Accordingly, the thesis given by thinkers such as Klein and Chomsky is that corporations are not merely economic entities, but play a crucial role in the formation of our greater social ideology. It is for this reason that we must hold them up to scrutiny and consider how they are shaping our lives.
This thesis can be considered controversial from those who could consider corporations to be benign entities, merely trying to carve out their piece of the pie and survive within a free market economic system. However, this point overlooks the extent to which our social lives are intertwined with this same free market economic system: the arrangement of social lives is determined by the economic system. Consider, for example, the structure of how we find work, or lose work: the majority of employment is supplied by corporations and private industries, therefore, this economic existence defines our very existence.
This means that we have to reflect on the kind of economy we have and this is the point made by Klein and Chomsky: corporations survive by attempting to sell the most product. Therefore, a common denominator between all corporations is the sense in which they must promote consumerism. Every corporation views the individual citizen as a potential consumer. When these corporations become dominant in our social lives, our social lives become consumerist in character, with all the negative materialistic consequences of this fact. It is in this regard that Chomsky and Klein’s points appear astute.