The ethics of ‘Good Deeds’.
By Bird Lovegod, co founder of EthicalMuch.
Things that can be bought and sold include human beings, endangered animals, people’s time, physical space, every element in existence, and everything that’s ever been created. There’s also concepts, such as ‘engagement’ ‘popularity’ and ‘influence’ which have a commercial value. I’m trying to think of exceptions, things that cannot be bought or sold, legally or otherwise, and I’m coming up blank. The only thing I can think of that has no commercial value is what we would call ‘Good Deeds’.
Literally, the only thing that has no commercial value is the doing of ‘Good Deeds’.
I find this extraordinairy, and puzzling, and it raises a great many ethical questions which can be explored through real life examples.
Let’s put it in a scenario.
There’s a homeless person begging.
Three people are walking along the street.
The first person walks past.
The second person buys the homeless person a cup of tea.
The third person buys the homeless person a sandwich.
How many Good Deeds did the homeless person recieve?
Let’s ask them. They call it two.
Here’s the thing. The second person took a photo of the cup of tea, uploaded it to EthicalMuch, and received £5.
Now how many Good Deeds did the homeless person receive?
They still received two Good Deeds.
How many were done?
Does the Good Deed become nullified because the person received a £5 reward for doing it?
Is it a Good Deed if the person is rewarded for doing it? How about if they are refunded the cost of doing it?
How about if they are refunded the cost, plus 1p? Or 10p? Or £1?
Does the rewarding of ‘Good Deeds’ make them less ‘Good’?
To whom? Who’s judging? Who’s saying what is, and isn’t Good?
This is one of the interesting ethical debates we’ll be exploring through real life practice with Ethical Much.