Better Mousetrap? Of Emerson, Ethics, and Postmillennium Persuasion

Journal of Mass Media Ethics 16 (2-3):176-192 (2001)
Ralph Waldo Emerson reputedly said, "If you build a better mouse trap, the world will beat a path to your door." In this article, Emerson's actual quote is seen to infer a simple rule: quality supply attracts quantity demand. Such a rule could imply that enitre businesses related to persuasion, such as public relations, advertising, and marketing seem at best unnecessary and at worst unethical. However, Emerson's logic may not apply in modern market places driven by multiple competing images. This article proposes eithical thresholds for persuasion and examines the relationship of these thresholds to public relations theory. Two case studies are analyzed in which better-mousetrap logic is applied to test the viability of these thresholds.
Keywords persuasion  marketing  Ralph Waldo Emerson
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DOI 10.1207/S15327728JMME1602&3_7
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References found in this work BETA

Five Baselines for Justification in Persuasion.Sherry Baker - 1999 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 14 (2):69 – 81.
The New Industrial State.John Kenneth Galbraith - 1968 - Science and Society 32 (2):244-253.

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Can Natural Law Defend Advertising?Jeffrey J. Maciejewski - 2003 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 18 (2):111 – 122.

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