Advertisers have to constantly innovate to break through the “tuning out” that consumers learned to do. Post-Stalin Soviet leaders were increasing challenged to maintain the illusion that their system was superior to the west.
The Flynn Effect is the increase in intelligence in each generation since the 1930s. One study estimated that population IQ increases about three points per decade; another study estimated that the average IQ in 1932 was 80, on the same scale that the average IQ in 1997 was 100, i.e., people gained twenty IQ points in two or three generations. Many explanations have been proposed for the Flynn Effect, including better schooling, nutrition, and fewer infectious diseases. I propose that the arms race between advertisers and consumers contributed to the Flynn Effect.
There’s never been another Hitler or Stalin in countries that have mass media. The great dictators unleashed mass media on populations unvaccinated against mass lying. Late twentieth-century dictators were stuck in remote, isolated countries. With the Internet and video, oppression will be even harder for future dictators. Just try to get a wi-fi connection in Havana or Pyongyang!