This thesis is an in-depth investigation of the changes in consumer behavior in response to ethical and unethical actions, events, social frameworks, and unwritten rules. This thesis employs a case study methodology to compare scandals separated by several centuries – one in 18th century Europe, and the other in our modern times. The contexts, industries, fallout from the scandal and parties involved in each case are all different – the better to conduct a comparative study of what ethics meant, means, and will mean.
18th century Germany saw the prominence of a rare crime – suicide-by-proxy – wherein a suicidal person would not kill themselves, but would instead target an innocent. By confessing to such a crime (that always resulted in capital punishment), the perpetrators received what they desired - death. This exploitation of a loophole in religious doctrine is compared to a recent case of ethical misdemeanor by one of the largest publishers in the video game industry, Electronic Arts (E.A.). When it was revealed that their upcoming, highly anticipated Star Wars game contained a micro-transaction mechanic that many customers felt unfairly skewed gameplay, was exploitative, and bordered on gambling, it resulted in the largest social media boycotts of a digital product.
By comparing these two disparate cases, this thesis accomplishes several things. It discusses the changes in the video game industry (the largest and most rapidly changing entertainment industry), the parallels with religion, and how consumer acceptance of what the market offers has changed. Tied together by Zygmunt Bauman’s theories of liquid modernity to help explain the actions of perpetrators and victims, this work concludes that not only are current models of ethical education flawed and limited, it is necessary to develop new frameworks to deal with changes in our highly social and digital society – the global age.
|School:||The American University of Paris (France)|
|Source:||MAI 81/3(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Management, Marketing, Social psychology, Ethics, Behavioral psychology|
|Keywords:||Suicide-by-proxy, Liquid modernity, Micro-transactions, Loot-boxes, Consumer society|
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