The Engineering of Consent by Edward Bernays
"The Engineering of Consent" is an essay by Edward Bernays first published in 1947. He defines "engineering consent" as the art of manipulating people; specifically, the American citizen, who are described as "fundamentally irrational people... who could not be trusted." It maintained that entire populations, which were undisciplined or lacking in intellectual or definite moral principles, were vulnerable to unconscious influence and thus susceptible to want things that they do not need. This was achieved by linking those products and ideas to their unconscious desires. Ernest Dichter, who is widely considered to be the "father of motivational research," referred to this as "the secret-self of the American consumer."