Thursday 14 November 2013

Ethics - What is Good?

Ethics - What is good?
First things first manifesto;
  • Published in 1964
  • Signed by famous designers of the time, produced in the boom of consumerism time.
  • All of the designers felt frustrated about wasting their talent on pointless trivial products.
  • Waste of creative talent in a consumerist system.
  • Unethical to waste talents for the profit of other peoples.
Add Busters redraft manifesto;
Republished manifesto by add busters, an anti-capitalist magazine.
In the redraft the tone changes, it gets more critical and venomous, advertisers get a lot more stick in this version.

Nike advert;
"Encouraged in this direction, designers then apply their skill and imagination to sell dog biscuits, designer coffee, diamonds, detergents, hair gel, cigarettes, credit cards, sneakers, butt toners, light beer and heavy-duty recreational vehicles. Commercial work has always paid the bills, but many graphic designers have now let it become, in large measure, what graphic designers do. This, in turn, is how the world perceives design. The profession’s time and energy is used up manufacturing demand for things that are inessential at best."
  • It is trying to say we are all manufacturing demand for nothing, getting people to waste their money, meaningless consumer system.
  • If you are marketing Nike, you are exploiting sweat shop workers in their eyes. 
  • Cigarettes - kill people
  • Coffee - exploiting people
  • Global exploitation
"Many of us have grown increasingly uncomfortable with this view of design. Designers who devote their efforts primarily to advertising, marketing and brand development are supporting, and implicitly endorsing, a mental environment so saturated with commercial messages that it is changing the very way citizen-consumers speak, think, feel, respond and interact"
"There are pursuits more worthy of our problem-solving skills. Unprecedented environmental, social and cultural crises demand our attention. Many cultural interventions, social marketing campaigns, books, magazines, exhibitions, educational tools, television programmes, films, charitable causes and other information design projects urgently require our expertise and help."
  • What is worthy and what is unworthy.
  • How would you judge what is worthy?

"We propose a reversal of priorities in favour of more useful, lasting and democratic forms of communication – a mindshift away from product marketing and toward the exploration and production of a new kind of meaning. The scope of debate is shrinking; it must expand. Consumerism is running uncontested; it must be challenged by other perspectives expressed, in part, through the visual languages and resources of design."
  • If you work for big branded companies who make consumer items, you are being unethical, you are just perpetuating consumerism, and it is ruining the world.
  • Use your talents to smash capitalism.
  • Start a revolution, show the evils in capitalism.
  • Hijacking billboards, culture jamming.

"In 1964, 22 visual communicators signed the original call for our skills to be put to worthwhile use. With the explosive growth of global commercial culture, their message has only grown more urgent. Today, we renew their manifesto in expectation that no more decades will pass before it is taken to heart."
  • The people who signed the manifesto, don't have to worry about money or having to survive as they are very successful and have large design studios, therefore they can have morals.
  • They shouldn't look down their nose at everyone.

  • A meme, something that sticks in your head, circulate through the world, viraly, this is very successful communication.
  • This isn't ethical in its own right.
  • Anti capitalist revolution.
Victor Papanek;
  • This is probably one of the most famous books, very passionately written. "Design for the real world."
  • This book is a cry for ethics.
  • It's not advertisers faults.
  • He sees a gander purpose for us as designers, he wants people to do more with their skills.
  • One of his ideas, because an American car company said they would leave their bumpers as they are ever though they are unsafe, but otherwise they would have to increase to value of each of the cars.
  • He made this bumper and drove into the senate building, he got arrested and started this idea about safer bumpers for less money.
  • He came up with this diagram.
  • Designers made things seem desirable when really there is a lot of problems and people hide them.
How do we determine what is good?
There is a way of working for the capitalist system and still be ethical.
There are also ways of working for the capitalist system and be non-ethical.

Ethical Theories;
Subjective Relativism;
  • There are no universal moral norms of right and wrong.
  • All persons decide right and wrong for themselves.

Ethical Theories;
Subjective Relativism;
  • There are no universal moral norms of right and wrong.
  • All persons decide right and wrong for themselves. 
Cultural Relativism;
  • The ethical theory that what's right or wrong depends on place and/or time.

Ethical Theories;
Subjective Relativism;
  • There are no universal moral norms of right and wrong.
  • All persons decide right and wrong for themselves. 
Cultural Relativism;
  • The ethical theory that what's right or wrong depends on place and/or time.
Divine Command Theory;
  • Good actions are aligned with the will of God.
  • Bad actions are contrary to the will of God.
  • The holy book helps make the decisions.

  • Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804) a German philosopher
  • People’s wills should be based on moral rules
  • Therefore it’s important that our actions are based on appropriate moral rules.
  • To determine when a moral rule is appropriate Kant proposed two Categorical Imperatives
  • He was one of the first people to try and formulate a way of determining a way to be ethical.
Two Formulations of the Categorical Imperative;
Act only from moral rules that you can at the same time universalize.
If you act on a moral rule that would cause problems if everyone followed it then your actions are not moral
Act so that you always treat both yourself and other people as ends in themselves, and never only as a means to an end.
If you use people for your own benefit that is not moral.

The act of charity is not just giving money, it is something different, being nice to people or looking after someone is being charitable.
You should not use people to further your call.

Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill;

Principle of Utility
  (Also known as Greatest Happiness Principle)
An action is right to the extent that it increases the total happiness of the affected parties
An action is wrong to the extent that it decreases the total happiness of the affected parties.
Happiness may have many definitions such as: advantage, benefit, good, or pleasure
Rules are based on the Principle of Utility
A rule is right to the extent that it increases the total happiness of the affected parties
The Greatest Happiness Principle is applied to moral rules
Similar to Kantianism – both pertain to rules
But Kantianism uses the Categorical Imperative to decide which rules to follow

  • If you do something and you can see a benefit, then that action is ethical.
  • If you do something and you see a negative impact, then that action is bad.
  • It might be ethical but not desirable.
Social Contact Theory;
Thomas Hobbes (1603-1679) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
An agreement between individuals held together by common interest
Avoids society degenerating into the ‘state of nature’ or the ‘war of all against all’ (Hobbes)
“Morality consists in the set of rules, governing how people are to treat one another, that rational people will agree to accept, for their mutual benefit, on the condition that others follow those rules as well.”
We trade some of our liberty for a stable society.

  • If everyone did whatever they want, everyone is competing against each other.
  • An implicit agreement with each other.
  • To be ethical is to think about the common good rather than in individual gain.
Toolbox of Moral/Ethical Theories;

Whether presented with problems that are easy or difficult to solve, the four workable ethical theories,
Act Utilitarianism
Rule Utilitarianism
Social Contract Theory
could provide us with possible solutions to many of the problems that are raised by the ‘First Things First’ manifesto.

Criteria for a Workable Ethical Theory?

Moral decisions and rules:
Based on logical reasoning
Come from facts and commonly held or shared values
Culturally neutral
Treat everyone equally

Socially and Ecologically Responsible Design

Victor Papanek;
  • Papanek designed a radio, a workable radio, made from rubbish around the streets of Africa, it can be powered on elephant dung. This allows people to make it themselves.
  • Designed not for profit or individual gain, but design for the greater gain.
  • Help the underprivileged and the underdeveloped.
Social Tithe;
  • He is actually trying to say designers can do more with their talents, not trying to say advertising is evil.
  • Trying to stabalise society.
  • Designers should use this chart, you can do whatever you want, but devote 10% of your time to do something ethical.
  • If the whole world did this the world would be better.
What does passion mean to you?

The assets of the worlds top three billionaires are greater than those of the poorest 600 million on the planet
More than a third of the worlds population (2.8 billion)live on less than two dollars a day
1.2 billion live on less than one dollar a day
In 2002 34.6 million Americans lived below the official poverty line (8.5 million of those had jobs!) Black American Poverty double that of whites
Per capita income in sub-Saharan Africa =$490
Per capita subsidy for European cows = $913

  • Very unethical
  • Real facts and statistics
  • There are things we can do about it

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