Two of the most dangerous shows on television are Shark Tank and Undercover Boss. These programs are mindless celebrations of capitalism – and are viewed by millions of working class people in marathon format.
Shark Tank demonstrates just how backward and unproductive the economy is. First of all, there is a difference between basic human needs and pseudo-needs. The former refers to the essentials required for our survival: clean air, adequate and nutritious food, potable water, ample shelter, and affordable health care. The latter refers to the flashy gizmos and empty products that – in an effort to profit – capitalism convinces us we need. This includes all the flashy gizmos and gimmicky products that we can live without.
On Shark Tank, there is a panel of five rich people who compete with each other in a race to the bottom to invest in pseudo-needs. Consider the fact that after being on the air for 8 years, the most popular and lucrative investment on the show is a sponge with a smiley face on it. Wages are stagnant, the cost of living is increasing, and Congress is actively trying to cut our health benefits – but we are supposed to stand and applaud someone investing in a fucking sponge?!! Get real, folks. Imagine a system where a panel of representatives cooperated with each other to invest in meeting our needs.
Undercover Boss is equally hate-worthy. Some money-hungry CEO puts on a wig and/or fake mustache and infiltrates the lower ranks of their business as a new employee. This charade gives the boss an opportunity to inspect the day-to-day functions of the company, and ideas for ways ‘increase productivity’ (i.e. intensify exploitation). The directors attempt to justify this hostile policing by focusing on an over-the-top rude employee who ends up getting fired. And then, with cheesy music playing softly in the background, the CEO becomes a hero after giving a FEW “hard-working” employees promotions and/or large sums of money for school, health care, vacation, etc. No matter how much money bosses donate, there is no such thing as conscious capitalism. All of the money the CEO gives as a “reward” was stolen from employees to begin with.