Opinion: (Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Economics and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals): “The past half-century has been the age of electronic mass media. Television has reshaped society in every corner of the world. Now an explosion of new media devices is joining the TV set: DVDs, computers, game boxes, smart phones, and more. A growing body of evidence suggests that this media proliferation has countless ill effects.
“The best evidence suggests that Americans watch more than five hours per day of television on average – a staggering amount, given that several hours more are spent in front of other video-streaming devices.
“Time that used to be spent together in the community is now spent alone in front of the screen. Robert Putnam, the leading scholar of America’s declining sense of community, has found that TV viewing is the central explanation of the decline of ‘social capital,’ the trust that binds communities together.
“Certainly, heavy TV viewing is bad for one’s physical and mental health. Americans lead the world in obesity, with roughly two-thirds of the US population now overweight. Again, many factors underlie this, including a diet of cheap, unhealthy fried foods, but the sedentary time spent in front of the TV is an important influence as well.
“America’s TV ownership is almost entirely in private hands, and owners make much of their money through relentless advertising. Effective advertising campaigns, appealing to unconscious urges – typically related to food, sex, and status – create cravings for products and purchases that have little real value for consumers or society.
“American politicians are now brand names, packaged like breakfast cereal. Anybody – and any idea – can be sold with a bright ribbon and a catchy jingle.
“All roads to power in America lead through TV, and all access to TV depends on big money. This simple logic has put American politics in the hands of the rich as never before.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recently warned that TV viewing by young children is dangerous for their brain development, and called on parents to keep children under two away from the TV and similar media.”
My Comment: We will be able to change TV from being commercial and egoistic to socially useful only by realizing the need for positive social influence on everyone, which will inspire us to unite and to become similar to the global interconnection developing between us.
TV will become the source of integral education and training and will help us create a new society that will be similar to unified nature. As a result, the crisis will turn into well-being.