I am a person of principle. And I am very proud of it. But from time to time one has to rethink their principles and rules of behaviors. The world changes and so do we, as humans and as a society. What we considered a great principle at some point, looked at again today, might turns out to be stupid or mainly caused by circumstance. But sticking to something because “it has always been this is way” isn’t principle, that’s tradition. As humans we like this because it feels familiar. But traditions might not be appropriate in the zeitgeist. Principles need to change from time to time. Like fighting ethical because it is for a good cause.
This thought first came to mind when I saw this great TED talk about paying salaries in the profit sector vs the non-profit by Dan Pallotta, striking the question: yes, why does one have to decide to either get paid good or do good? Shouldn’t it be the opposite actually? One should be paid better when doing good instead of causing harm. But with profit-driven capitalism ruling the world with an iron fist, it is those who make the most profit on their work, who are paid the highest. And the non-profit or for-good entities are always kept behind for the sole purpose that the profit-makers have the better people to make more profit of. But shouldn’t we actually assign our best engineers to fix infrastructure in the under-developed world? And find a bearable solution for energy sources for the world?
A recent conversation then broadened the topic even wider for me. Salaries are only one of the aspect where the for-good are handicapping themselves. What about communication techniques to get more people to join the cause? It isn’t as if these techniques aren’t known, they are studied and even strongly used - but only by profit-oriented companies. How come it’s okay when a for-profit does it, but it is morally shady if a for-good entities does the same? Why do we accept toy companies producing whole TV series of product placement to be stuffed in our children’s faces but when a teacher uses subtle technique to get them to read books, that is considered brain washing? What kind of twisted standards do we have, when we believe using the shady method is okay, as long as the one using them makes a profit, but it isn’t if it doesn’t profit them but a higher cause.
If for-profit decides to take off the bandages, why do we require for-good to leave them one? We basically require them to put themselves into the disadvantage position and lose the actual fight to stay the “moral winner”. But why do we require them to be the moral winner, when that means they can help less people? I am fine with not being called the moral winner, if instead of ten thousand kids one would educate a million. We should stop judge for-good by our moral standards and start focusing on the actual impact. And if that requires them to use the tools as a for-profit, so be it. If anything we should have higher standard on those that don’t even do good.
Curtesy to Abusx for this great Picture of the pillow fight in Bologna, Italy in 2008 published on Creative Commons.