Ming the Mechanic:
Corporate Fallout Detector

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Corporate Fallout Detector2005-06-09 01:49
picture by Flemming Funch

James Patten:
The Corporate fallout Detector scans barcodes off of consumer products, and makes a clicking noise based on the environmental or ethical record (selectable via the "sensitivity" switch) of the manufacturer. It explores issues of corporate accountability and individual choice. Due to increasingly complex global supply chains, a single product we buy may contain parts made by various companies all over the world. We may agree with the business practices of some of these companies, while not with others. The complexity of the relationships between manufacturers can be so great that it becomes unclear how to translate our personal convictions into good buying decisions, and all purchasing decisions involve an unavoidable element of risk. For example, a consumer may know that one company has a good record on human rights and pollution, but that company may be owned by another company that has a poor record in these areas. When one buys from the smaller company, the parent company also benefits. In this case, what should a consumer do to reward good business ethics? One can argue either for buying or boycotting products from the smaller company.

The maze of corporate ownership makes it difficult for consumers to reward good business practices or punish bad ones by changing their buying habits. The products on the shelves in a store look more or less the same whether they were manufactured using child labor, or they increase pollution, etc. These aspects of products are invisible and difficult to understand. In this sense, these aspects are like nuclear radiation (invisible, dangerous, complex), which is part of the reason I designed the Corporate Fallout Detector to look and sound like a Geiger counter.

Yeah, it isn't simple. Would be nice if it was as simple as a red light or green light. But really the thing is that we need to be better informed. We need better ways of visualizing complexity, so that we'll bother paying attention to it.

I don't know how real that geiger counter thing is. It is a couple of years old and have been displayed at some festivals and gotten some mentions, but it is probably more like an art project, meant to call attention to the issue.

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9 Jan 2006 @ 00:15 by maxtobin : Not a production model?
This is something that all school kids and consumers should be aware of and given as a resposible citizen in our new civ. I see either; a big future for this item or; huge changes in our collective consumption habits (either willingly or enforced through a natural balancing activity such the earths current changes!! A very Artful Project Flemming!! Our prayer (and decree) is that we wake up and don't need this 'cause we witness the fall and total extinction of the non responsible corporate agenda.  

19 Dec 2014 @ 22:47 by Karina @ : JYBjryVwSG
Barb on July 13, 2012 I had the same problems yetserday. My buddy e-mailed me at the same time I was in my yahoo mail and the detector still showed he was off line. How does this show me what is going on. How do you tell if this is the real person who is talking to me. His avatar matches the pictures he sent me. But I have also found he has two avatars.Help please?  

23 Dec 2014 @ 18:17 by Adi @ : pEJSQxykwaDocsQLP
T on September 16, 2012 Yes Mary I am having the exact same preolbm. I am starting to get angry with the IMvisible people running this business. It seems that they are invisible or are tying to be. I have sent several messages to them already and I have not gotten a single reply back from them about this issue. HELP!  

1 May 2016 @ 11:02 by Jaclyn @ : DHlbesnsoxTy
It's always a pleasure to hear from someone with exeeitrsp.  

Other stories in
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2014-09-26 15:15: Brevity
2011-11-06 21:33: Counting what counts
2011-01-23 13:46: Authenticity
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2010-06-27 02:28: Doubt
2009-10-25 17:04: Opinions, perceptions and intuition
2009-10-15 08:32: Abstraction
2008-06-29 16:47: Complicated and Complex
2008-02-20 16:39: The universe as a virtual reality

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