Public shaming can make the world a better place

The discussion about 21st-century shaming usually turns to cases in which an otherwise well-behaved person posts a tweet or photograph that results in excessive punishment by an anonymous and bloodthirsty online crowd which ruins that person’s life for a while. Many people, myself included, object to this form of vigilantism. But other examples of shaming — singling out big banks for environmental destruction, exposing countries for refusing to end forced labour or calling out denialists who undermine action on climate change — challenge the mistreated tweeter as shaming’s stereotype. What shaming largely is, after all, is not necessarily what shaming might be. Read more at WIRED.CO.UK.

Is Shame Necessary in The Brooklyn Rail

“Guilt only needs to be addressed by the self, whereas shame can force change in others’ behavior. Shame can scale and its target need not be human. A company or an industry can be shamed, but they cannot feel guilty as these entities lack consciences. This important distinction is central to Jacquet’s thesis: abandon guilt and turn to shame as the tool for resolving collective action problems.” Read more in The Brooklyn Rail.