Either / or?
Most debates about ethics or the lack thereof are framed around two opposing schools of thought. On the one hand, liberal philosophy advocates values of freedom, the private and the individual; on the other hand there is a more loosely connected set of ideas that advocate society, the common good and justice (Rorty, 1989). The liberal tradition, with its emphasis on free markets leading to all other freedoms including democracy and personal freedom, dominates the debate in mainstream economics and business literature. The brand plays an important role in the defence of free market principles: brands create accountability, loyalty and value. The more critical tradition sees brands as part of the problem, not the solution. Brands are the lubricants of free markets in which the consumption mentality comes to colonize all other forms of life. Brands are the avant-garde of the capitalist quest for world domination, spearheading the invasion of culture and privacy (or what’s left thereof).