1. No, because the use of cost-benefit analysis to determine if the flaw in Ford Pinto automobiles is worth the financial risk in comparison to the value of human life is unconscionable and indefensible. Because of this cost-benefit analysis, Ford made a costly decision not only in terms of money but also human life, pain and suffering for victims and their families, and to its own reputation. Ford chose to pay for possible lawsuits instead of repairing the Ford Pinto. Many deaths and terrible injuries were the result of Ford’s unethical decision that resulted in dozens of lawsuits and also led to the three reckless homicide indictments against Ford Motor Company. If Ford had the right business ethic and moral integrity to put consumer safety first, instead of profit and competition, there would have been no loss of life or financial suffering because there would not have been lawsuits. Lastly, the ethical principle that i used and i believe would fit best for this scenario would be the principle of personal virtue. 2. If we as a society did not allow any degree of risk, then things such as all cars would be built like tanks so that even if there were accidents it would not be so severe, all crosswalks would be raised, and so on. Clearly, some degree of risk is acceptable if the benefits are satisfactory.
The key is that the costs and benefits need to be weighed by society rather than just by a company. This is necessary for two reasons. First, the benefits and costs are different because society will not consider Ford’s profits to be as beneficial as Ford will ,although society will have some benefit. Second, since the costs are produced by society, it is only fair that society makes the decision. 3. No, I do not think the public was adequately informed because if they were the society would have probably been more cautious towards Ford Pinto, which would have been bad for business. A good example would be when Nissan company found out that there was an incident on the highway with one of their cars that could not stop because the brakes was not working.
I am pretty sure Nissan new about this because it has happened more then once, which means they failed to inform the public adequately. 4. If I were an engineer I would be dealing with two conflicting obligations, which are my obligations to my company and my larger obligations to society. First I would try to work within the company structure, since many companies have independent organizations to investigate safety issues. In addition, an important factor to remember is that safety issues may often involve uncertainty and “what if” scenarios, and that people can have honest differences of opinion. Second if I cannot work within the company structure, or if i do and still feel that the issue poses a significant threat to public safety, then you may be obligated to speak up. 5. The technical complexity of issues within our profession and the rapid changes in technology make it very difficult for laws alone to be current enough and to provide enough detail to handle all relevant situations concerning an engineer’s conduct and yet encourage responsible innovation.