One of my very first posts, an oldie but a goodie, and very debate-able topic at hand ‘Mind Versus Matter’. I even copied & pasted the old comments simply because my readers took the time to write and share their thoughts. Lets hear your thoughts!
This is a touchy subject – and I was hesitant to bring it up – but I was doing some magazine archiving with my older issues of Harper’s Bazaar and came across an interesting article (which I managed to find online) http://www.harpersbazaar.com/magazine/feature-articles/the-fight-against-fakes-0109 and it got me thinking..
There have been endless debates from both sides with subject to what buying counterfeit says about an individual and what type of individual buys counterfeit bags – and it is clear that both fake-haters and fake-lovers have very strong opinions respectively. We tend to get offended quickly and choose sides from a personal point of view; fake-buyers often think that real-buyers are slaves and sheeps to fashion, while the real-buyers believe that fake-buyers are wannabes and misleading.
But the issues of counterfeiting is much more than just a matter of creating replicas – there are legal issues, intellectual property violation, conscpicuous consumption and socio-economics.
We have all heard the common issues in consequences of counterfeiting; lost revenue for companies, lost tax dollars for government, lost jobs, etc. – it’s even being raised as a national security crisis – linking counterfeiting to terrorism! Handbags are obviously only part of the overall authenticity question, but when Louis Vuitton can increase earnings even in a global recession, they might be a part worth considering.
Jean Baudrillard a cultural theorist in France debates over the value of authenticity, the role of replica designs and today’s society that embraces it.
I recall reading this article from the New York Times just recently, where a study was conducted by Professor Dan Ariely at Duke and M.I.T. on how counterfeit goods influence people in other aspects of their lives. The result of these studies were individuals who were told that they were “fake” designer were significantly more likely to cheat on tests than ones told they were wearing “real” ones. “the effect on morality, people don’t anticipate” he said, also author of ‘Predictably Irrational’ Ariely presented his study “faking it: the psychology of dishonesty and couterfeits” at Harper’s Bazaar’s annual anti-counterfeiting summit in March 2009 (among the counterfeit items on display at the conference were Viagra condoms and a Ferrari.
As a thank-you present for speaking, the conference organizations presented him with a Prada bag, which was a new experience for him. “I don’t own any other fashion products,” he said. He decided to keep the label facing inward, but he noted, “I still felt like I was walking around with a Prada bag, which is strange because I didn’t think I cared anything about fashion.” His emotional response to the Prada bag intrigued him, so he started doing a series of studies on how brands — real and fake — affect people. “Whatever the brand means is very much about the internal feeling, and not just about the external projection to the world, – If you think it’s real,” he said, “from the psychology perspective, it’s real.”
So it seems as though it replicated across human behavioural studies that otherwise would have nothing related to the couterfeit industry. The first time a person violates his/her own moral code is the hardest mountain to climb-over; however once you are past the hump subsequent violations are easier. Psychologically knowing affects in a subconcious manner appears and helps the initial act of ethical borders, which makes the following actions repeat itself ethical in their own terms. This study seems to conclude alot of criticisms out there to those fake-buyers, which is, that they are essentially comfortable with deception and unconcerned with the ethics of their decisions, as long as they are satisfied with the end result – rather harsh for something as simple as a handbag – but people forget that every decision made says something about the person making it.
As for Professor Ariely, he gave the Prada bag to his mother – but went out to buy a good Mont Blanc pen because he enjoys writing so much. “When I take it out and I start writing, I have this objective feeling that my thoughts are clearer. My handwriting is clearer,” he said. “The truth is — I didn’t anticipate it — when I take this pen, there is a special feeling.”
Moral of the story? don’t buy fakes – you are not fooling anyone but yourself.