A valid argument, why or why not? Philip Kotler argues that professional marketers should have the same ambivalence as nuclear scientists who help build nuclear bombs.
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While I suppose this statement has some validity, it seems hopelessly exaggerated (as I’m sure it is supposed to be). I would say that they probably should feel some ambivalence, but not “the same ambivalence” as the people who make nuclear weapons.
The validity of this statement rests on the idea that marketing is harmful to those who are exposed to it. This is true to some degree. First of all, marketing can cause people to waste money. It can cause them to buy things that they would not have wanted to buy if they had not been exposed to the marketing. It might cause them to buy things that they will not even actually use. Second, it can harm people by encouraging them to buy things that are actually bad for them. The classic example of this would be marketing for cigarettes.
Of course, it is a major exaggeration to compare marketing and nuclear weapons. Marketing is not lethal in the same way that nuclear weapons are. It can also, at times, be beneficial and does not necessarily hurt anyone. Nuclear weapons cannot be used without killing people. Marketing can be used without doing people any harm at all even if it can at times do some degree of harm.
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