The Week: Best of the blogs - Marketing is democracy

One of the peculiar features of capitalist democracy is that it never spends a penny promoting itself.

This leads to a peculiar kind of ingratitude among capitalism's beneficiaries. So, whereas a few million Russians were happy to die defending their right to queue for a potato, we now live in a place where you can wander into Tesco at 3am and buy a microwave for £30 - and nobody has a good word to say about it.

In fact, until the book Greater Good by John Quelch and Katherine Jocz appeared, it never seems to have occurred to anyone that a commercial business is a far more democratic entity than almost any other.

Let's consider a not-unfamiliar scenario: a BBC journalist, an MP, a representative from some health quango and an NHS health advisor sitting round a glass table on TV giving someone from, say, McDonald's, Tesco or KFC some gyp. As they all witter on, it never occurs to anyone to point out that the corporation is the only vaguely accountable entity at the table. If we wished, we could close it down in a month - by not spending our money there. People vote for McDonald's every day - and with their wallets.

As Quelch and Jocz point out, marketing is the space in which consumers and suppliers reach a happy and imaginative accommodation. It is a discipline whose astounding contribution to net value creation is unfairly overlooked by almost everyone, not least those who work in it.