Yes Men Fix the World, Ethics of Protest and Bringing Issues to Light

AG401 Film Yes Men Fix the World, the Ethics of Protest and Bringing Issues to Light 1. What ethical/moral/philosophical constructs are the activists operating under with respect to their tactics in protest? The Yes Men use Utilitarian Ethics of Duty and Rule Consequentialism. With this mindset, they carry on pranks and hoaxes to reveal the lies of large corporations and government. In the theory of Duty-Based Ethics, people do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. These large corporate giants do nothing but take the toll on others’ misfortunes.

An example of Duty-Ethics can be seen when Andy impersonates Jude Finisterra, a spokesperson for Dow Chemicals, being interviewed on BBC regarding the Bhopal Legacy catastrophe of Union Carbide and its deadly gas leaks in India. He is quoted saying, “this is the first time in history that a publicly owned company, of anything near the size of Dow, has performed an action which is significantly against its bottom line, simply because it’s the right thing to do. ” In theory of Rule Consequentialism, it states that an action is morally right just because it is required by an optimific social rule; relating back to Duty Ethics.

With the motive under Rule Consequence, the Yes Men planned to set a course of actions which might trigger a reaction so that corporate giants and government may conform to such a social rule. As long as the outcome is of a happy ending for the public, Mike and Andy will have succeeded to change and affect society in ways that money could not. To correct an action which harms society more than benefits it, sometimes ridiculing and exposing the negative aspects of it might be the only course for corrective action. 2. Do the tactics distract from the message or lend power to the message? On what ethical grounds?

In theory, such pranks and hoaxes are supposed to create change as a result from negative publicity. This derives from Kantian Ethics, which actually goes against Consequentalism, kind of an oxy-moron. Although it is morally just, their actions do have negative consequences to certain parties. As far as exposure goes, their tactics seemed have to work in their favor, and the Yes Men have also defied legal repercussions in every scenario. And by bringing such important public issues into light, some objectives were achieved; transmitting the power of voice towards the public, and conveying the theory of moral duty to the companies.

However, their main purpose was not accomplished, and their tactics seem to have failed again; in fact nothing significant was taken into consideration or changed by any of the targeted corporations, or even the government entities. For example, in the Catastrophic Loss Conference, Andy and Mike pose as representatives from Halliburton; which they have claimed was the top company in extracting profits from a disaster. Halliburton has made hundreds of millions of dollars off the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and now the Yes Men have arrived to presenting another invention called the SurvivaBall; again to “profit” off some disaster.

Their tactic was to create the “biggest joke ever by making fun of stupid concepts with stupid ideas. ” And with something as simple as the SurvivaBall being so useless, it relates to the concept of Big Corporate making money off others’ misfortunes instead of solving the problems which lay before them; the ironic part is that the SurvivaBall is actually more useful than what the government or companies like Halliburton have created for disasters. But to their shock when all was presented, their attempts of letting people know what “sucked about letting greed run our future,” was instead greeted with business cards. . What about the ethics of law enforcement in dealing with activists? If anything was taken from this documentary, it was that companies cannot learn to behave differently by themselves; government has to make rules to control them. To fix the world, it is going to take more than two guys, cheap suits, and fake websites; it would take millions of people. When activists begin threatening for change, law enforcement entities may only deal on legal premises; as there is a right to freedom of speech and to assemble and petition the government.

If no harm and damage or rioting is caused, law enforcement may only be there to prevent incidents. An example may be observed with over two dozen people wearing SurvivaBall costumes demonstrating in the East River; where police shut down the demonstration for lack of a permit. Andy Bichlbaum was arrested on an outstanding parking ticket charge and a handful of others were served with summons and tickets for disorderly behavior and creating hazardous conditions. So they also tried this, attempting to cost HUD more money and put some out of jobs.

They hope to expose to the public by making a mockery of an entity in able to stimulate a solution or action. But it never works. Mike Bonanno Andy Bichlbaum Duty-Based Ethics Jude Finisterra, faking as a spokesperson for Dow Chemicals regarding the Bhopal Legacy catastrophe of Union Barpide and its deadly gas leaks in India, quoted saying that “this is the first time in history that a publicly owned company, of anything near the size of Dow, has performed an action which is significantly against its bottom line, simply because it’s the right thing to do. However it was hilarious that he noted they were going to liquidate $12 billion in assets to provide care and compensation to the victims and their families. Halliburton #1 company in extracting profits from a disaster. Made Hundreds of millions off Katrina, and now (name) and (name) are presenting the Survivor Ball, to “profit” off a disaster. Biggest joke ever, of how to make fun of stupid ideas, well, with stupid ideas. For example, something so simple of a Survivor Ball is useless, also like the concept of making money off others’ misfortune instead of solving the problem.

But the ironic part of this is that the survivor ball is actually more useful than what the government or companies like Halliburton have created solutions for disasters. But what their attempts of letting people know what sucked about letting greed run our future, but instead of freaking out, they just took their business cards. Companies cannot learn to behave differently by themselves, government has to make rules to control them. So they also tried this, attempting to cost HUD more money and put some out of jobs.

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