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Ethical Theories Essay Sample

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The first article ‘hundreds of economists agree Marijuana legalization could save taxpayers $13 billion per year’ by Jonathan Benson underlines a sensible ethical issue which legalizing a plant regarded as drug – though non-narcotic – in other to save and to make more money. In second article, “Pepsi’s ‘Next’ generation – Less sugar!”, Scott Morefield highlights Pepsi’s procedures of making soft-drink –thereby making money – which harmful for the customers. On one hand, Pepsi gets profits from sales of its soft-drink. On the other hand, Customers give money and trust and get a drink but with unwanted toxins and health costs over their lifetime. In the body of the essay we review five theories of ethics and their implications in the two articles. UTILITARIANISM

Though there are many varieties of the view discussed, Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall “happiness”. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, and that one can only weigh the morality of an action after knowing all its consequences. Utilitarianism is one of the most powerful and persuasive approaches to normative ethics in the history of philosophy. The Classical Utilitarian, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, identified the good with pleasure, so, like Epicurus, were hedonists about value. They also held that we ought to maximize the good, that is, bring about ‘the greatest amount of good for the greatest number’. Utilitarianism is generally held to be the view that the morally right action is the action that produces the most good. According to the article 1, the report written to the president, State Governors, and State Legislators states that legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana would do wonders to reduce inflated budgets and generate new revenue streams.

On the contrary, legalizing marijuana would not only save taxpayers billions of dollars a year in unnecessary costs, but it would also jumpstart the economy to the tune of $100 billion a year or more, say some economists. All these underlying issues briefly highlight on the theory of utilitarianism which morally obliged to generate the greatest good for the greatest number by assessing all the consequences for all affected in short or long term and also value everyone equally in way of committing to the common but not individual good. The issue contained in the article aims at promoting the wellbeing of the country as well as its citizens. It is not an issue that is targeted to an individual but to the people of the same interest and people with different interest. Utilitarian’s said that the morally right action is action that produces the most good. The article vividly shows utilitarian’s view that actions that produces most good is morally right. A critical example is the statement “If, however, marijuana were taxed similarly to alcohol or tobacco, it might generate as much as $6.2 billion annually.” thereby increasing the country’s revenue. Contrary to Utilitarianism does the article also clarify the demerits of the legalization of marijuana i.e. the drug industry and the prison system, much of which has now been privatized, would suffer greatly. KANTIAN DEONTOLOGY

The theory of deontology states that we are morally obliged to act in accordance with a certain set of principles or rules regardless of the outcome Deontological holds that some acts are always wrong even if they achieve morally admirable ends. An act, in deontology, is always judged independently of its outcome. This is because deontologists do not equate the right with the good like utilitarianism do.

However according to our article, marijuana legalization will save tax payers a whole lot of money as well as improve the standard of the economy but this would be so beneficial if only we had focused on the concept of Utilitarianism. Our objective is under this theory is whether it is right for us to go through with legalization of marijuana.

Marijuana as we all know is morally wrong through s many ways;

i) Increases the number of children using it
ii) Brings more criminals to the street
iii) Health effects such as cause cancer
iv) Physical damage such as lung damage among so many other problems that come about with the dealing and handling with drugs although in this case may have a desirable end.

It is worth mentioning that another divergence between the theories of utility and deontology is the way in which they are constructed: utilitarianism is concerned with actively maximizing the good while deontology is more negatively focused on avoiding the morally impermissible or on the constraints on action.

The moral worth of an action is determined by the will. The human will is the only thing in the world that can be considered good without qualification, according to Kant. Good will is exercised by acting according to moral duty/law and in this case of marijuana, we can conclude that it is absolutely not moral to legalize marijuana. . This is because morality is independent of wants and consequences. The categorical imperative is referred to as the universal law as Kant believed that by using reason one could determine whether a maxim was categorical or not and because all human beings are rational then the same categorical imperatives will hold for everyone. Using reason and test of universability to determine whether a moral principle is a categorical imperative or universal law and according our article and our Kant’s deontology argument, it is safe to say that it’s not about the end justifying the means as is of Utilitarianism but the process and how to get there as a moral objective. JUSTICE

The theory of justice has two main represent: John Rawl and Robert Nozick. We can encounter five types of justice: Retributive, Procedural, compensatory, commutative and distributive. A general concept of the theory of justice, according to John Rawl, is that all social primary goods – liberty and opportunity, income and wealth, and the bases of self-respect – are to be distributed equally unless an unequal distribution of any or all of these goods is to the advantage of the least favored (Piccard 2005). He developed a conception of “justice as fairness”. Rawl suggests that a new social contract be developed. One that fit today’s society. To do so, in a fairly way, one have to be free from any biases, prejudices or apriorism. He suggests one imagines himself behind a veil of ignorance. Behind such a veil of ignorance all individuals are simply specified as rational, free, and morally equal beings (Kay 1997). Then they would only choose to establish a
society that would at least conform to the following two rules: * Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with similar liberty for others. * Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both: reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage and attached to positions and offices open to all.

Robert Nozick is primarily concerned with the distribution of property, and argues that justice involves three ideas: 1. Justice in acquisition: how you first acquire property rights over something that has not previously been owned 2. Justice in transfer: how you acquire property rights over something that has been transferred to you by someone else; 3. Rectification of injustice: how to restore something to its rightful owner, in case of injustice in either acquisition or transfer.

Nozick’s theory of justice claims that whether a distribution is just or not depends entirely on how it came about. By contrast, justice according to equality, need, desert or Rawls’ Difference Principle depends entirely on the ‘pattern’ of distribution at that moment.

By launching his new soft-drink, “Pepsi Next”, does Pepsi make a fair distribution of benefits and burdens? Is it fair and just? According to Rawls, this distribution is unfair. Pepsi and its marketers get benefits while customers get the burdens. Everyone deserves an equal share. Pepsi invoke the “difference Principle”: they worked harder, they contributed more and they deserve more benefits. Actually these raisons are not universal, they do not respect all persons and they are not rationally acceptable to all: customers wouldn’t do the same choice if they are well informed of what really contain Pepsi Next. For Nozick, this would be fair. Because he rejects absolutely the idea that there is a moral basis for redistributing wealth in the name of equality or social justice. But Nozick also argued that a distribution is just if everyone is entitled to the holdings they possess under the distribution; a distribution which must follow the three ideas of justice. Pepsi does not follow these rules: they defraud customers by lying to them. In this case, a rectification in justice might be needed. The marketing plan is unjust because, even though they are equal parties in the exchange, the company gets the benefits and the customers take the burdens.

Ethical relativism is the theory that holds that morality is relative to the norms of one’s culture. That is, whether an action is right or wrong depends on the moral norms of the society in which it is practiced. The same action may be morally right in one society but be morally wrong in another. For the ethical relativist, there are no universal moral standards — standards that can be universally applied to all peoples at all times. The only moral standards against which a society’s practices can be judged are its own. If ethical relativism is correct, there can be no common framework for resolving moral disputes or for reaching agreement on ethical matters among members of different societies. Pepsi’s ‘Next’ generation – Less sugar, more toxins! As mentioned in the article 2 aims at lessening the sugar content in Pepsi. Ethical relativism claims that actions that are right or wrong depend on the moral norms of the society. Justifying the issue in conjunction with this theory is somehow challenging. According to the theory of Ethical Relativism we can strongly say that it is a right thing to do since greater sugar content is not healthy but also increasing toxins amount is dangerous for the human body and has a deplorable side effect that seem incurable.

Right is simply defined as something that a person is entitled to and wants it. In other words a right is a justified claim on others. For example, if I have a right to freedom, then I have a justified claim to be left alone by others. Turned around, I can say that others have a duty or responsibility to leave me alone. Moral rights are justified by moral standards that most people acknowledge, but which are not necessarily codified in law; these standards have also, however, been interpreted differently by different people. One of the most important and influential interpretations of moral rights is based on the work of Immanuel Kant, an eighteenth century philosopher. Negative and positive rights are what Kant emphasizes most.

Kant maintained that each of us has a worth or a dignity that must be respected. This dignity makes it wrong for others to abuse us or to use us against our will. Kant expressed this idea in a moral principle: humanity must always be treated as an end, not merely as a means. To treat a person as a mere means is to use a person to advance one’s own interest. But to treat a person as an end is to respect that person’s dignity by allowing each the freedom to choose for him or herself. They say Pepsi Next is “crafted from the right mix of cola flavor and a blend of sweeteners to closely mimic the taste curve of a regular cola.” This seems to be a right thing undertaken by Pepsi Company to boost their sales but legimately it does not sound right since sweetening and flavoring Pepsi next has a side effect to consumers health. Consumers have the right to enjoy products that are healthier to the body.

Basically marketing Managers help a company maximize its profit margin. Among other roles, he has to develop pricing, promote product, etc. Regarding the Pepsi article, as marketing managers, we have analyzed and found that this is aimed at manipulating the average consumer, maximizing money benefits and justifying with a number of implications. Most of these implications are harmful for consumers. The main Question which arises is: Should Marketing Managers maximize profit at any cost and/or by all means? Of course they should not. Marketers do not have to do anything to maximize the needs of their companies without morally justifying whether it is right or wrong. When talking about human lives, a minimum of “ethics” is required. Any business practice that put money on a par with people is immoral. That’s a fact! However, marketing managers must have all information in hand and balance objectively all consequences, all implications on the people concern (company, stockholders and consumers) so they can decide whether to launch a product or not.


* Charles D. Kay. Justice as Fairness. Department of Philosophy. Wofford College. 1997. Web. 23 apr. 2012. <http://webs.wofford.edu/kaycd/ethics/justice.htm>. * Dick Piccard. Entropy and Human Activity. Tiers III. Department of Physics and
technology. Ohio University. 13 Mar. 2005. Web. 24 apr. 2012. <http://www.ohio.edu/people/piccard/entropy/rawls.html>. * Driver, Julia. “The History of Utilitarianism”. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Summer 2009. Edward N. Zalta (Ed.). Web. 20 apr. 2012. <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2009/entries/utilitarianism-history/>. * Manuel V. , Claire A. et al. “Ethical relativism”. 2010. Markkula Center Of Applied Ethics. Santa Clara University. Web. 25 apr. 2012. <http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/decision/ethicalrelativism.html>. * Manuel V. , Claire A. et al. “Rights”. 2010. Markkula Center Of Applied Ethics. Santa Clara University. Web. 25 apr. 2012. <http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/decision/rights.html>. * Melvin H. Business Ethics: Kantian Ethics (Deontology). Lecture 3. Oct. 2005. Information Technology Department. National University of Ireland, Galway. Web. 22 apr. 2012. <http://ww2.it.nuigalway.ie/staff/h_melvin/prof_skill/L3_handout.pdf>. * Sara Algoe. “Ethical Relativism”. Hub Pages. 2012. Web. 27 apr. 2012. <http://saraalgoe.hubpages.com/hub/Ethical-Relativism>. * “Utilitarianism”. Wikipedia. Apr. 2012. Web. 29 apr. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism#Types_of_utilitarianism>.

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