Change+: Leslie Witt, “The Illusion of Neutrality”

As credit cards are increasingly vilified – treated as a disease, demanding abstention – the question must be asked – ‘how did something so neutral become so polarized?’. We believe that it’s this neutrality, or illusion of neutrality, which is at the heart of the problem. The illusion of neutrality and the lack of personal control which is it’s bedfellow, isn’t unique to credit cards, nor to the financial service industry. From big box retailers who see themselves as simply the bridge from supplier to purchaser, to utility companies who envision their service as one of pipes and nodes – a sense of identity as infrastructure allows industries to avoid implication in the range of unhealthy and unsustainable behaviors that permeate our now. You can’t be Switzerland in this battle, and it’s important to pick which side you’re on. Design can help you step out of the shadow of neutrality and tread into the choppy waters of behavior change.

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