February 26, 2019No Comments

Evidence-based Utilitarianism in Action is Hard to Argue Against

“If the only way to save another person’s life during an emergency is to sacrifice one’s own leg, then one is morally required to make this sacrifice.”
…I had stumbled upon the online Oxford Utilitarianism Scale test in one of the Effective Altruism Facebook groups. Effective Altruism, or EA, is a global movement that tries to find out, using evidence, reason and careful analysis, how to improve the world as much as possible. And then actually doing it. Many, if not most of those that consider themselves an EA (EA can mean both the movement Effective Altruism but can also refer to a person that is an Effective Altruist) also consider themselves utilitarian. I consider myself both an EA and a utilitarian, at least until I came across this test.

Read more

November 2, 2013No Comments

Smart CSOs – Searching for new cultural stories in civil society

In October the Smart CSOs Lab hosted a conference in Germany attended by over 80 activists and researchers from 14 different countries. This video was produced at the conference and shows voices of activists from different parts of the world and different sectors of civil society talking about their frustrations, motivations and inspirations to join the growing movement for systemic change.

Smart CSOs is an initiative inspiring people to start searching for new civil society stories to overcome the frustrations many of us are feeling by working in our issue silos and by fighting the symptoms while knowing that we need to tackle the root causes of the multiple crises of our times.

Go check them out: Smart CSOs

March 28, 20121 Comment

Treating people as consumers boosts materialistic values

“One of the most profound changes in our modern vocabulary is the way in which ‘We the People’ are defined”, observes the academic David Rutherford. “Not so very long ago, we ‘pictured’ ourselves as citizens. … Today, we are most often referred to (and therefore increasingly inclined to ‘see’ ourselves) as consumers.”

Too true. There has been an inexorable rise in the use of the term ‘consumer’ over the past forty years – a stark trend evident in both newspapers and books. But whilst the rise of consumerism has been well-documented, evidence of its negative impacts have proven harder to pin down. Does it really matter that we’re all consumers now? Read more

January 25, 20121 Comment

What about people for whom extrinsic values are particularly important?

A great deal of the research that we have brought together on this site points to the advantages, on aggregate, of appealing to intrinsic values in communicating to people about social and environmental problems - and the potential costs of appealing to extrinsic values.

But, of course, people aren't all the same, and it may be that there are some people who are simply impervious to communications which appeal to intrinsic values. We've argued that this is unlikely, because we all express all these values at different times - life, afterall, is a 'dance around the values circle'!

But the original group of people who supported the Common Cause report - from COIN, CPRE, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam and WWF - wanted to test this further. So we enlisted the help of some psychologists (at Cardiff University, and Knox College, Illinois) and linguists (at Lancaster University). Read more

December 5, 20103 Comments

Transparency in communications

Here are some reflections from Shaun Chamberlin over at Dark Optimism about Common Cause.

He puts his finger on one of the key challenges that this work raises - the subject of prolonged debate in the course of putting the report together. It's one thing to understand that decision-making is importantly driven, not by a cold and rational consideration of the facts, but by value-laden emotional responses to situations. But how do we respond to this understanding?

Inescapably, all communciations and campaigns serve to activate and strengthen particular values - and these may be either helpful, or unhelpful, in terms of addressing the social and environmental challenges that we collectively confront.

But if we can't strip the values out of the communications (and we really can't) we can at least strive for greater transparency about what values we are activating with a particular campaign or communication, and why.

How that transparency is achieved is an open question. Is it, for example, a page on a website, or an appendix to a report: a section that presents a quick bit of frame analysis and makes clear the values that a communication is likely to activate, and the probable effects of these values?

This blog was originally posted on Identity Campaigning.

©2018 - 2019 Common Cause Foundation

©2018 - 2019 Common Cause Foundation

©2018 - 2019 Common Cause Foundation

©2018 - 2019 Common Cause Foundation

©2018 - 2019 Common Cause Foundation

handmade by