A nephew to Freud, Bernays capitalized on crowd psychology by becoming the pioneer of the 20th century industry of Public Relations. He worked closely with politicians and corporations to develop what he called "the engineering of consent" - controlling the minds of the public without their awareness.
Ironically, Freud’s work was aimed at bringing hidden motives to consciousness to help people lead happier lives - while Bernays used the same set of theories to mask the motives of his clients and keep the public unconscious of the forces that were being used to mould their minds and desires.
Bernays was instrumental in developing the notion of the consumer as somebody who bought a product not because they needed it, but because they would feel better if they had it. He realised that anyone who wanted to influence the public had to appeal to people’s irrational and selfish needs, and he systematically linked mass-produced goods to unconscious desires. Although not as well-known as Freud, he is the one that helped develop ‘self-expression’ from a psychoanalytic method of healing to a cultural method of living.
"The average citizen is the world’s most efficient censor. His own mind is the greatest barrier between him and the facts. His own ‘logic proof compartments,’ his own absolutism are the obstacles which prevent him from seeing in terms of experience and thought rather than in terms of group reaction." -- Bernays...Continua