This month, two things have conspired to challenge my usual sunny disposition to the world and both are located in that uncomfortable space where design and politics meet.

It is an unending source of amusement to me that designers and other creatives tend to find themselves on the left of the political spectrum despite being employed by OmniHyperGlobalBastard Corp.

Nevertheless, some designers seem determined to carve out a niché for themselves outside the scum-ridden world of capitalism, or at least transcend its vagaries in an utterly condescending manner. Meet the 'socially responsible' designers.

The idea of socially responsible design was something I first came across in the late 1990s. This month I ran into it again in this interview with Jonathan Barnbrook about responsibilities in design.

As someone who grew up genuinely piss-poor in a war-zone and who remains natural supporter of organised labour let me explain this: Poor people neither need nor want your sympathy. They need economic development to lift them out of penury.

Offer us a benefit concert? We will spit in your face.

OK, well I've never experienced true poverty as is commonplace in Sub-Saharan Africa, but nevertheless, the point remains.

More than that, if you are engaged in business of any sort it matters barely a jot what your intentions are. The economic order being what it is, all monies are interconnected and will end up in the hands of the warmongers sooner or later. There is no such thing as a caring corporation and it is folly to believe otherwise.

There is worse, however, than the misplaced nineteenth century-esque Christian socialism of the socially conscious designers. There is the gruesome spectacle of designers attempting to paper over the cracks in capitalism with their vapid and offensive middle class imaginings.

The disgusting spectacle of designers - architects in this case - conspiring to give poverty a makeover is more than I can take.

I am writing of Architecture for Humanity's new testament (or, load of balls, if you prefer) Design like you give a damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises.

Quite apart from the fact that you can't put lipstick on a chicken, that fact that anyone should be lectured about good design by an organisation which has, in seven years managed to actually construct just twelve buildings is almost beyond contempt.

Worse still, in the book is the example of the 'paraSite'. Designed by artist Michael Rakowitz, the paraSite is an inflatable tent which homeless people can attach to a building's exhaust to create a temporary shelter.

To paraphrase the script of Terry Gilliam's Fisher King: 'They're homeless, but they're happy. They like the freedom.'

As if vacuous art wasn't contemptible enough, here we actually have an example of an artist offering his fatuous onanism as a practical solution to a real economic and social problem.

Designers: just do you job. If you have political beliefs and want to fight for a better world, that's perfectly laudable. Just don't expect to bring it about while you're using AutoCAD or QuarkXPress. Unless, of course, you happen to be designing roads, sewage systems, schools, hospitals, factories and offices, in which case design might truly be said to be socially responsible.