Virtue Signalling

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What Is Virtue Signalling?

The phrase ‘virtue signalling’ was coined by The Spectator journalist James Bartholomew in 2015 in reference to ‘the way in which many people say or write things to indicate that they are virtuous’.

The phenomenon of virtue signalling accelerated because of the ease with which we can (in theory) make a political statement on social media. The criticism is that the ephemeral nature of shorthand political social declarations on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (complete with trending hashtags) shows a thoughtlessness, vanity and lack of real commitment to a political cause that we can attach ourselves to at the touch of a button.

‘One of the crucial aspects of virtue signalling is that it does not require actually doing anything virtuous’, Bartholomew explained. ‘It does not involve delivering lunches to elderly neighbours or staying together with a spouse for the sake of the children. It takes no effort or sacrifice at all’.

Source: Vogue UK


I invented ‘virtue signalling’. Now it’s taking over the world – James Bartholomew

The Spectator: The awful rise of ‘virtue signalling’



Corporate Virtue Signaling: How to Stop Big Business from Meddling in Politics – Dr Jeremy Sammut

Major Australian companies are increasingly involved in contentious political debates – such as Indigenous Recognition – that are not the business of business, and are all in the name of what is known as ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’.

Dr Jeremy Sammut and Maurice Newman – former chairman of the Australian Stock Exchange and columnist with The Australian newspaper – had a conversation about what can be done to stop corporate political meddling and to ensure that business keeps out of politics.

In his new book Corporate Virtue Signaling: How to Stop Big Business from Meddling in Politics, CIS Senior Research Fellow Dr Jeremy Sammut, argues that if the CSR activists operating inside Australia businesses get their way, companies will become political players campaigning for ‘systemic change’ behind ‘progressive’ social, environmental, and economic causes.

Related terms: CSR Activism, ‘Social license to operate’, ‘sustainability of business practices’ (as determined by the political class).

Maurice mentions 2 classes of CSR

  • Badgered: Fear of PR
  • Profiteers: Banks, Insurers, EV Makers, etc.

Crony capitalism: “Economic rent seekers are rewarded according to their fealty to the powers that be” (time=10:30)

Source: CIS


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