News in the UK at the moment covers a bizarre item, although nobody seems to think it is bizarre. It’s about the ‘Talking’ CCTV cameras that will tell off people dropping litter or committing anti-social behaviour. I thought it might be an April Fools’ day joke, but no, they are serious. Apparently these talking cameras are already being used in some areas. Of course cameras are not able to pick up transgressions. Ultimately there is a human behind the camera who is ready to pounce to tell you off. There are an estimated 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain. Some people consider the country to be heading towards a surveillance society. I would have though it was there already.
In line with the ubiquitous cameras and along the same principle, a new Ethics Centre has been set up at the Open University which deals with Morality. There is such a general lack of morals in society, and the UK is not an isolated example but part of a global phenomena, that surveillance cameras have to be set up everywhere to check on bad behaviour. It also requires now an Ethics Centre in order to teach adults morals. Where has this lack of knowledge of right or wrong come from? There have been some amazing examples of lack of morals recently. The BBC had some bad press when it was revealed that the children’s program Blue Peter had fixed a phone-in quiz. Let’s teach kids how to cover up mistakes by lying! Testing for performance enhancing drugs is now a given in checking on top sporting people. The cheating in sport is wide spread. Pakistani’s exist out of the cricket world cup with a loss against an amateur team such as Ireland, begs the question of match fixing. One of the biggest accounting firms in the world sold off its divisions and closed its doors within six months of being caught shredding papers in the Enron scandal. The list is endless.
Will it help? The Ethics Centre and the talking cameras? Will they make a difference to the general cheating, lying and stealing that happens around us all the time. And from there, there is really only a small step to rape, violence and killing of people. After all, police forces world wide acknowledge that if you reduce the lesser crimes the bigger ones will take care of themselves. Possibly ethics should be introduced in schools already. Somewhere, we are slipping up. Possibly it is so important for people to win now that the means justify the ends to such an extent that doping is an easy choice and the only penalty is when one is caught, not the shame of using performance enhancements to have an unfair advantage in the competition.
Morals only come into the picture when the perpetrator is caught. Up till then the morals or ethics of the person in the situation do not exist. People seem to have no conscience anymore. The success of their endeavours is more important than the issue of being right or wrong. This is across the board, and not really endemic to sports people and the issue of right and wrong is being ignored more and more. I have driven behind cars and the driver in the car in front will throw out litter out of his window. No matter that this is against the law, and besides that bad for the environment. Is it any wonder that football supporters behave as badly as they do? It’s all around them, the lawlessness and pretending the law doesn’t exist for them. Lets see where it all will end. Possibly it could bring a backlash and we could end up in a state where you can’t chew chewing gum or get heavily fined if you spit on the pavement. Maybe that isn’t even that bad after all. Stopping the smaller crimes?
Anja Merret lives in Brighton, UK. She has recently started a blog and writes on issues that interest her from self-improvement, wealth generation, motivational thinking and anything else that amuses her. You are invited to follow her journey on http://www.anjamerret.com.
She now looks after the business interests of her daughter who is a Flash and Accessibility expert at http://www.niquimerret.com