Thursday, 14 November 2013

Ethics- What is Good ?


What is it to be an ethical creative ? 
What is good ?

First Things First , Ken Garland, 1964
Produced in the boom of consumerism, post war affluence. Signed by quite famous designers, art directors e.c.t wanted to do something more with their talent rather than just sell products. 
They are saying it is unethical to waste their talent for the profit of others.

Adbusters- anti capitalist magazine
through spoof adverts
in the re-draft the tone changes

talks about graphic designers and advertisers as the same thing 
manufacturing demand for rubbish 
making people spend money they work hard for on pointless materials
effectively a designer is encouraging this exploitation e.g. logo for a credit card, working with nike- slave/child labour

'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'

A negative effect on society
is it always negative ? 

How do you judge what is worthy and what is unworthy ?
Judgemental, simplistic, dictorial

If you work to market, advertise or brand, or any sort of consumer item you are being unethical, and you are ultimately destroying the world.
Hijacking billboards
Culture Jamming

Just because someone works for a certain company it does not make them an unethical person, many of the signatures where famous designers who already have money and do not need to worry about the cost. Less famous designers may not have the luxury of choice.

Capitalism shouldn't be put on the shoulders of designers, the blame is on the system that allows the unethical treatment of i.e. child workers

Putting tape over the s to make dollar signs
How effective is this ?

Buy nothing day- larger ignored or unheard of by consumer society

Culture Jamming / Meme Warfare
Adbusters and Kalle Lasn

 “A meme (rhymes with dream) is a unit of information (a catchphrase, a concept, a tune, a belief) that leaps from brain to brain to brain. Memes compete with one another for replication, and are passed down through a population much the same way genes pass through a species. Potent memes can change minds, alter behavior, catalyze collective mindshifts, and transform cultures. Which is why meme warfare has become the geopolitical battle of our information age. Whoever has the memes has the power.”

What happens when you change the talent into a anti- capitalist message

Replacing one thing for another, is it replacing one thing for the end of another is this ethical ?

Victor Papanek

Design for the Real World
made the same points as first things first manifesto

Conflated capitalism with advertisers, not the fault of advertising necessarily. 
Papanek sees a grander purpose, wants people to use their skills for more important things

Papanek, Beer Can Automobile Can Bumper, 1971
Before the technology of bumpers, a giant american car company decided that they would keep their dangerous bumpers as replacing them would be too much
And so Papanek designed his own bumper for less then $50, and drove it into the senate building in his home town , he was put on trial , but the car company still denied the making of a new bumper saying it would add $500 onto each car unit.

How do we determine what is good ? 
We live in a capitalist society, and therefore it is almost determined you would have to create work in this area, this does not make you unethical. 
But there could be ways to work ethically within this system.

An argument that is ongoing

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 whats right or wrong depends on place and/or time
A context to your beliefs
Not all cultures are the same, and can't marry ideas together

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
Prescribed by scriptures, no reasons
(Religion mainly)

Immanuel Kant (1724- 1804) 
A German philosopher 
People's wills should be based on moral rules
Therefore its important that our actions are based on appropriate moral rules.
To determine when a moral rule is appropriate Kant proposed two Categorical Imperative

Two formulations of the categorical imperative
you should adopt a maxim

act only from moral rules that you can at the same time universalise
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

John Stuart Mill

Principle of Utility
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
(Also known as Greatest Happiness Principle)

Not based on reason
sometimes you can do something good and it can have bad implications 
or vice versa

Social Contract Theory

Thomas Hobbes (1603-1679) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
An agreement between individuals held together by common interestAvoids 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.
An implicit agreement between each other, laws, rules etc
To be ethical is to think about the society more than individualism

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

Morality vs Legality 

Are all legal acts also moral?
Difficult to determine because many immoral acts are not addressed by the law
Are all illegal acts immoral?
Social Contract Theory: Yes, we are obligated to follow the law
Kantianism: Yes, by the two Categorical Imperatives
Rule Utilitarianism: Yes, because rules are broken
Act Utilitarianism: Depends on the situation. Sometimes more good comes from breaking a law.

Socially and Ecologically Responsible Design

Victor Papanek designed a radio for third world countries, it was made out of rubbish and it could be made by anyone, powered by dung.

Social Tithe 
Tithe- something you'd give away for free
stabilisation of society, for the good of society
proposed thar 10% of a designers time should be devoted to ethical work, e.g. free work, work for charity etc
if everyone did that the world would improve
e.g. Stefan Sagmeister
Ethical under the Social Contract too

A more productive way of change. 

Victor Burgin " what does possession mean to you ? '

The assests ot the worlds top 3 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 two dollars a day
In 2002 34.6 million Americans lived below the official poverty line (8.5 million of those had jobs) Black American poverty doubles that of whites

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