Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
The purpose of these commercials is to cause the segment of the consuming public who are most likely to purchase things that they shouldn’t, to purchase things that they shouldn’t. By making light of such a habit – by making it seem like that is what living beyond one’s means would really look like (and therefore not what they do) – it increases the chance that such consumers will live beyond their means (by purchasing a Volkswagen). Volkswagen is willing to destroy the last vestige of rational, fact-based thought in the minds of such people in order to get them into a contractual agreement that is designed to be greatly to the car company’s advantage. They know that such people will, at best, readjust their lives just to meet their contractual obligation (which makes having the car a net loss instead of a value), and at worst (or, actually, at best from Volkswagen’s perspective) not be able to meet the terms of the contract, and so they will be able to profit from things such as late fees, punitive interest rates, and arbitration at a rate far greater than the profit that would come simply from selling the car itself.
Capitalism is routinely criticized in modern culture as being “predatory.” This is a false view of capitalism, which only exists because of the morality of altruism. Altruism holds that the purpose of the individual’s life is service to others, and therefore anyone who does not sacrifice his own interests to others is being immoral. Because of this, when an altruist encounters a non-altruist, the only thing that the altruist can conclude about this person is that he sacrifices other’s interests to his own. Hence, the popular notion that capitalism is inherently predatory. The notion that capitalism is neither predatory nor sacrificial – but mutually profitable – is simply never considered.
Altruism leads to a false view of capitalism, and that false view leads to the entire regulatory and taxation structures that exist today. Structures designed specifically in order to prevent such predation (in the case of regulations), or to compensate “the public” for it’s “necessary evil” (in the case of taxes). However, because capitalism is, in fact, not predatory – but mutually profitable – the only effect that the regulations and taxes have in reality is to make true capitalistic activity (ie: mutually-profitable activity) less profitable, or even unprofitable. The effect of that is a self-fulfilling prophecy: the very situation which the advocates and enforcers of regulations and taxes seeks to prevent (predatory “capitalism”) becomes the only “capitalism” that works – and then the culture sees companies doing things such as what is done in this commercial.