1. What is it?

Ethos is the attempt to persuade others by using an ethical appeal. It is done by making an argument sound fair, morally correct, practical, and credible.

In simple terms, it is the idea that messages work better when the audience admire, respect or like the messenger, or believe the messenger has ethical authority.

2. How is it made?

Ethical credentials can be shown by mentioning a job title, experience, or reason to be believed (although the audience may already be aware of it).Communicate in an educated manner, using well-chosen vocabulary and correct grammar.
Ensure no ulterior or selfish motives are visible.After the credentials are known, replace ‘I’ with descriptions of society as a collective.
Place broader social gains above personal gains, making the audience believe it will benefit too from agreeing with this smart person.

3. Examples

So, ultimately, we have a choice: we can shut down the site and increase our profits by outsourcing the work, or we can continue with this workforce. I say it is a decision we should make not by thinking with our wallets, but by thinking with our conscience, because this company is more than numbers in an annual report. It stands in the world, visible, respected, growing and changing. And like every soul, it must stand for something. And what that something is should be sticking up for the workers who have got us here and upon whom we rely, because that is the right thing to do.

The ethical discussion of three parent children has been raised increasingly often since the technique was pioneered. People question whether it is right or an instance of science providing the tools to ‘play god’. As a doctor and a representative on the Disabilities Counselling board, I have come into contact with the suffering and, sometimes, grief that comes from genetic concerns and fragilities. Yet I have also seen the strength, positivity and humanity that can grow from adversity. This puts me in a position to describe some of my concerns regarding this technology going forward.

4. Examples in literature

No Logo
by Naomi Klein

Know Your Book

Title: No Logo
Author: Naomi  Klein (1970- )
Published: 1999
Language: English
Genre: Non-fiction; social criticism
Synopsis: Branding has overrun society, as every location and event is now a marketable brand. Even schools, arts and governments are advertising spaces. Yet whilst capitalists and followers of trends enjoy this world of image and commodities, some people are revolting against it. The book examines case studies of brands seeping into all portions of life, and meets the people using community, technology, law, or acts of vandalism to fight back.

Excerpt from Introduction ‘A Web of Brands’:

There was a common element shared by all these scattered issues and campaigns: in each case, the focus of the attack was a brand-name corporation – Nike, Shell, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s (and others: Microsoft, Disney, Starbucks, Monsanto and so on). Before I began writing this book I didn’t know if these pockets of anticorporate resistance had anything in common besides their name-brand focus, but I wanted to find out. This personal quest has taken me to a London courtroom for the handing down of the verdict in the McLibel Trial; to Ken Saro-Wiwa’s friends and family; to anti-sweatshop protests outside Nike Towns in New York and San Francisco; and to union meetings in the food courts of glitzy malls. It took me on the road with an “alternative” billboard salesman and on the prowl with “adjusters” out to “jam” the meaning of those billboards with their own messages. And it brought me, too, to several impromptu street parties whose organizers are determined to briefly liberate public space from its captivity by ads, cars and cops. It took me to clandestine encounters with computer hackers threatening to cripple the systems of American corporations found to be violating human rights in China.
Most memorably, it led me to factories and union squats in Southeast Asia, and to the outskirts of Manila where Filipino workers are making labor history by bringing the first unions to the export processing zones that produce the most recognizable brand-name consumer items on the planet.
Over the course of this journey, I came across an American student group that focuses on multinationals in Burma, pressuring them to pull out because of the regime’s violations of human rights. In their communiqués, the student activists identify themselves as “Spiders” and the image strikes me as a fitting one for this Web-age global activism. Logos, by the force of ubiquity, have become the closest thing we have to an international language, recognized and understood in many more places than English. Activists are now free to swing off this web of logos like spy/spiders – trading information about labor practices, chemical spills, animal cruelty and unethical marketing around the world.
I have become convinced that it is in these logo-forged global links that global citizens will eventually find sustainable solutions for this sold planet. I don’t claim that this book will articulate the full agenda of a global movement that is still in its infancy. My concern has been to track the early stages of resistance and to ask some basic questions. What conditions have set the stage for this backlash? Successful multinational corporations are increasingly finding themselves under attack, whether it is a cream pie in Bill Gates’s face or the incessant parodying of the Nike swoosh – what are the forces pushing more and more people to become suspicious of or even downright enraged at multinational corporations, the very engines of our global growth? Perhaps more pertinently, what is liberating so many people – particularly young people – to act on that rage and suspicion?

Skimming, Scanning and Basic Comprehension

1. What is the subject of Klein’s book No Logo?
2. How many countries (including the mention of cities within those countries) appear in the passage?
3. Who are the ‘spiders’?
4. Which three questions in particular will Klein attempt to answer within her book? 
Identifying Techniques

5. In what way does Klein use ethos in this introductory passage to persuade the reader that her book’s arguments are valid and right?
6. What narrative voice does Klein use? Why?
7. Although Klein uses ethos to persuade the reader her argument is valid, the last paragraph also modestly undermines the extent of her argument. Which sentence in the last paragraph displays this modesty about the scope of her argument? 
Text Analysis

8. It could be perceived that Klein is against large corporations and for activism. Underline the words that show corporations in a negative light. Circle the words that elevate the activists.
9. Compare the examples listed in the first paragraph to those given in the second. How are they similar? How do they differ?
10. Klein makes connections between local cases and activities, and a global movement against a global problem. What are some examples of localised cases? Where does she discuss the global aspect of the topic?
11. The passage, and book, describes ideological conflict. Highlight the words that are conflictual or warring in tone. 
Provoking Opinion

12. Naomi Klein’s book is generally critical of the extent to which logos and corporations have invaded people’s lives. What are your opinions on this? Do you feel the world has too much branding? Or is branding a necessary part of modern living?
13. Of all the examples of ‘taking on the system’ or ‘fighting the power’ mentioned, which do you think is the most worthy?
14. In your opinion, is literary activism effective?

Capital in the Twenty-First Century
by Thomas Piketty

Know Your Book

Title: Le Capital au XXIe siècle (*trans: Capital in the Twenty-First Century)
Author: Thomas Piketty (1971- )
Published: 2013
Language: French
Genre: Non-fiction; economics; sociology
Synopsis: Currently, rates of return on capital are higher than economic growth, meaning it is more profitable to own assets and collect rents, interest and dividends than it is to work. The book argues that the consequence of this is a society dominated by inherited wealth, from which financial inequality and a class hierarchy becomes embedded, leading to an oligarchy. With capitalism and technology designed to increase inequality, the only solution is through taxation.

Excerpt from Introduction (translated from French):

Compared with previous works, one reason why this book stands out is that I have made an effort to collect as complete and consistent a set of historical sources as possible in order to study the dynamics of income and wealth distribution over the long run. To that end, I had two advantages over previous authors. First, this work benefits, naturally enough, from a longer historical perspective than its predecessors had (and some long-term changes did not emerge clearly until data for the 2000s became available, largely owing to the fact that certain shocks due to the world wars persisted for a very long time). Second, advances in computer technology have made it much easier to collect and process large amounts of historical data.
Although I have no wish to exaggerate the role of technology in the history of ideas, the purely technical issues are worth a moment’s reflection. Objectively speaking, it was far more difficult to deal with large volumes of historical data in Kuznets’s time than it is today. This was true to a large extent as recently as the 1980s. In the 1970s, when Alice Hanson Jones collected US estate inventories from the colonial era and Adeline Daumard worked on French estate records from the nineteenth century, they worked mainly by hand, using index cards. When we reread their remarkable work today, or look at François Siminad’s work on the evolution of wages in the nineteenth century or Ernest Labrousse’s work on the history of prices and incomes in the eighteenth century or Jean Bouvier and François Furet’s work on the variability of profits in the nineteenth century, it is clear that these scholars had to overcome major material difficulties in order to compile and process their data. In many cases, the technical difficulties absorbed much of their energy, taking precedence over analysis and interpretation, especially since the technical problems imposed strict limits on their ability to make international and temporal comparisons. It is much easier to study the history of the distribution of wealth today than in the past. This book is heavily indebted to recent improvements in the technology of research.

1. The primary purpose of this passage is to

a) dismiss past works as inaccurate
b) prove the writer’s literary skill
c) show the authority of this work
d) illustrate similarities between this work and its predecessors
e) discuss the history of economic analysis

2. The writer quotes past works in order to

a) show the evolution of economic analysis
b) create authenticity in his own argument
c) highlight the manner in which economics has changed
d) suggest complementary reading
e) prove their errors

3. Which of these is not a given reason why the writer believes his work superior to previous studies?

a) The understanding of the purpose of economics has improved
b) Technology has improved, making data collection and analysis easier
c) Some effects from events such as the world wars are only visible now
d) In the past, the time and energy for data collection often limited the ability for analysis
e) His work can build on these previous studies

4. The writer is most thankful to

a) past writers and their works
b) advances in technology
c) his education
d) the readers
e) pioneering economists

5. Compared to the passage from No Logo, the passage from Capital in the Twenty-First Century makes more use of

a) current political trends
b) first-hand experience
c) proof of the writer’s academic excellence
d) distinct geographic cases
e) established academic references


5. Tasks

Task 1: Construct a paragraph that establishes ethical credibility and begins an argument based on ethos.
Task 2: Write a short speech on a topic of your choice that uses ethos as its primary method of persuasion. Remember to stress your credibility as a speaker, and to show how this decision would create a common good or is ethically correct.