Oh, buddy, I hate this topic with a passion. I recently had a breakup, that despite limited communication due to the tension the discussion invoked, I believe that part of the issue was their heavy belief that ethics are subjective, which is true, but not in the way that was central to the discussion we were having. They were discussing morality. I was discussing ethics. However, due to the interchangeable and colloquial use of ethics and morals, people often don’t understand that they are using the wrong term.
I am sorry, not sorry to inform you all that ethics and morals are not the same, and you must be careful in how you use the term in communication. This is a significant issue in why so many arguments break out. Foundationally ethics are cultural and communal. This also includes subcultures. Morals are individual and are deeply connected to our experiences, nurture, and personal growth. When discussing how actions affect others, both matter; however, the impact is the basis of the term you use.
One of the many communities these conversations occur in is the polyamorous community. The terms consensual nonmonogamy and ethical nonmonogamy are different but also colloquially used interchangeably. Polyamory is distinctly about the ethics of nonmonogamous loving relationships; Not defining love for others; Not telling people how to present that love; Not the priority of certain types of intimacy. It is about the cultural ethics of this specific subset of nonmonogamy. A dictionary definition does not explain the intricacies of cultural expressions and agreement throughout the community. No, quick definition does. The base definitions that float about are introductions not, the full picture of what polyamory is.
I will share some cursory links to help people understand ethics and morals as different terms that cover different relationships to similar central ideas.
What is the difference between Ethics, Morality and the Law?
What’s The Difference Between “Morals” vs. “Ethics”?
What’s the Difference Between Morality and Ethics?
You say morals, I say ethics – what’s the difference?
Ethics, morality, law – what’s the difference?
Compare and contrast “morality” and “ethics.”
Ethics And Morality
An Analysis on Law Vs. Ethics and Morals in a Changing Society
The Battle Between Morality Vs. Ethics: Which One Wins?
Ethics and Morality
Here is a “Quick and Dirty” on cultures and their impacts on economics so it can be better understood what is meant by “something not being a culture issue, but an economic issue”. Things can be a really important cultural issues with deep heritage ties, but most people will not understand capitalism’s impact until we discuss the purely economic side. Think of all the subcultures we know and how access to money in the way many country’s work affect how you can interact with the various aspects of that culture and your freedom to interact with it.
I particularly find the idea that the deep cultural ties related to Indigenous populations have been/are being taken and commodified. This is not a new problem. Indigenous cultures have faced this for years which is where many of our trends come from (also for other POC cultures). We have been fighting the commodifying of cultural items and making cultural erasure the new definition of cultural appreciation.
Some cultures appreciate this because it shares their culture even if it is diluted. Others do not due to the long history of erasure, structural racism in many cultures, and the imperialist (or colonizing) outlooks of many nationalities. There is no right and wrong about this, but it is important to listen to the perspectives of people and how capitalism’s use of culturally significant items impacts many POC on multiple levels.
These links are in no way the end all be all nor do I believe they speak more highly of one perspective over another. These just inform on how one thing impacts another.
Erasure of Indigenous Knowledge and its Impact on Culture excerpted from INTRODUCTION TO CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR
What Drives Native American Poverty?
Yes, Culture Matters for Economic Development
The Economic Reality Of Native Americans And The Need For Immediate Repair
Identity Erasure by Andrea Wharff
Beyond Standing Rock: The Native American Economic Experience
Economics and Culture by David Throsby
Migration, cultural bereavement and cultural identity
Cultural impact on national economic growth
Shifting Neighborhoods: Gentrification and cultural displacement in American cities
Review: Identity and Erasure: Finding the Elusive Caribbean
Culture and the economy: understanding the dynamics of globalization
Indigenous Peoples in the Capitalist World System: Researching, Knowing, and Promoting Social Justice
Systemic Inequality: Displacement, Exclusion, and Segregation