Part 1: Happiness Machines – Part one documents the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays, who adapted Freud’s ideas in the 1920s to techniques of mass manipulation.
Part 2: The Engineering of Consent – Part two explores how those in power in post-war America used Freud’s ideas about the unconscious mind to try to control the masses. Politicians and planners came to believe Freud’s underlying premise that deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires –which could be channeled to benefit the manipulators.
Part 3: There is a Policeman Inside All of Our Heads, He Must Be Destroyed – In the 1960s, a radical group of psychotherapists challenged the influence of Freudian ideas, which led to the creation of a new political movement that sought to create new peoples, free of the psychological conformity that had been implanted in people’s minds by business and political manipulation.
Part 4: Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering – This episode explains how politicians turned to the same techniques used by business in order to read and manipulate the inner desires of the masses. Both Tony Blair’s New Labor in England and middle-of-the-road Democrats led by Bill Clinton tested policy proposals on focus groups to best learn how to advertise them to the public.