Design as Strategy and Practice- Fixing a Social Problem.

A social problem that I find troubling is the topic of smart consumption. What I mean is : I know the overwhelming majority of the things we buy come from lenient, off shore labor law situations, borderline slavery, certainly hyper exploitative. Usually, I abstain from buying something because of my reluctancy to participate in this economic model, but sometimes I try to forget about it all together when I really want something, and I try to wash my guilt with my stronger feeling, which is desire. Of course, I am also aware that this desire is consequence of manipulation, but that is a different topic.

I would like to use the clothing industry as an example. Markets like the clothing industry, where there is a disparate difference between how much things cost to make (how much people are getting paid for the clothing they make) and how much these clothes cost. Sometimes they are ridiculously more expensive because of their supposed status, and sometimes they are super cheap, because they literally cost close to nothing to make.

My solution to this problem would be to create a SOCIAL FOOTPRINT label on products. This means that there would be a label on a product that tells you, along with the carbon footprint of the product, who made it and what their wage is. This would create transparency between a company and its customers. The customer would also have a more meaningful relationship with the people that are making what they are buying. Alongside this concept, it would also be interesting to create an option for the customer to be able to “tip” the people who are making what they are buying.

Root causes: The root cause of this problem is the economic model we live in. I know this is a tricky idea. The people that are in charge of this wouldn’t want this to happen. Maybe it’s an idea that can be introduced via policy.


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