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Utilitarianism and its Application in Various Ethical Case Studies

Added on -2019-09-20

This article discusses Utilitarianism and its application in various ethical case studies such as The Parable of the Sadhu, Nestle and Advertising, Walmart, Shipbreakers, and Blood for Sale. It explains how Utilitarianism focuses on maximizing happiness and reducing pain for everyone affected by our actions. The article also highlights the limitations of Utilitarianism in certain situations.
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Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is defined as the right plan of action which will lead to the greatest good for thegreatest number of people and that the consequences lead to happiness According toutilitarianism, an action is right if and only if it brings about at least as much happiness as anyother action the agent could have performed. Otherwise, the action is wrong. In other words, ittakes happiness as its standard and uses it to assess the morality of the actions we perform. . Asmentioned in the utilitarianism lecture, when assessing actions, we must take into considerationnot only their consequences for us, but also their consequences for others. We are to consider thehappiness or unhappiness of everyone affected by our actions, with no person’s happiness orunhappiness being given more value than another’s. Utilitarianism wants us to maximizehappiness and to reduce pain. First of all, human beings are not manipulated by happiness orpain. There are a lot of other things matters in our lives.Utilitarianism is simple, bold, and directethical theory. When we are deciding how to act in a given situation, utilitarianism instructs us toassess the consequences of each of the various actions we could perform. “The Parable of the Sadhu”revolves around an almost naked sadhu that is clearly in distressand what is right in assuring the sadhu survives.It is a real life incident that happened to Mccoy and his hikers. The multinational groupencountered a sadhu throughout the 60 days trip to Himalaya. An Indian Sadhu who wassuffering from Hypothermia and was shivering in the snow, was found by one of New Zealander.Although each person from the group did their part taking care of the Sadhu, no one from thegroup took accountability of Sadhu’s well being. Since this case took place in Himalaya, wherethere are limited resources, these groups of people faced a dilemma whether to put effort on thesurvival of the sadhu or to save their energy to fulfill their initial plan on climbing the Himalaya.
Each hiker was willing to do his bit to help the Sadhu as long as it was not too inconvenient, butthe group was not organized enough to take ultimate responsibility for a life. Though manypeople supported him in different ways. The New Zealander carried him down below the snowline, Mccoy took his pulse and treated him for hypothermia, Stephen and the Swiss gave himclothing, the Sherpas carried him down to the sun and pointed out the hut, and Japanese peoplegave him food and water. Everyone was helping him but no one would be willing to take wholeresponsibility because their priority was in climbing the mountain rather than carrying the Sadhuto the village where other people could help him out. They all knew that once they went down tothe village, they might not have been able to come back up and each group could only risk somuch before their own safety was in jeopardy. There are moral issues happening once theyfound the Sadhu on the state he was in. Everybody prioritize more on their objective before theice melts rather than helping other people on the verge of death. The phenomenon of ethics ofcare is highly used here as revolved around the moral responsibility one human has towardsanother in a life threatening situation during a fatiguing and time critical adventure. Stephen triedto take on the role of leadership but the others were not having it mainly because they did notshare the same values and ethics. In any given circumstance, not sharing values, ethics, or goalsin a group can surely make things difficult which is exactly what occurred with the Sadhu andthe different approaches or paths that each group took.There is an ethical dilemma betweenindividual ethics and group ethics. Though everyone did their bit to take care of the Sadhu,Stephen was angered with McCoy’s action, believing that leaving the sadhu behind withoutadditional assistance down the road was a breakdown of ethics, “that everyone just ‘passed thebuck.’” And such action is a typical ‘western’ approach to a problem, simply toss some materialwealth at it and forget about it. McCoy in a broader context asks, do we prepare our
organizations and institutions so they will respond appropriately to ethical crises? A corporatetradition that "encourages questions, supports individuals, and gives direction where needed cancombine individuality with the success of a group". An application of Ethics in workplace is alsoprocured here as some questions arise that how reaching consensus and selecting a leader in acrush situation. Though according to the applicability of rule based theories Utilitarianism isanalyzed in this case. As in this case no one was harmed, maximum benefits from maximumnumber of people and the sadhu benefited from their actions. However the final result wasunsatisfactory. The case study article "Nestle and Advertising" was mainly about the Nestle Corporation, acompany that has been making baby formula product that was boycotted of advertisingcampaigns promoting the formula in third world countries. Nestle manipulated underprivilegedand desperate mothers using promotional workers acting as "milk nurses" to convince mothers tofeed their infants with the formula they were selling. By doing so, Nestle had violated the WorldHealth Organization's- International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. Nestle’sinfant formula was involved with the danger of bottle feeding, however, the details of the causesof deaths of the infants are not directly related to the use of Nestle, but the misuse of Nestle.Some parents mixed the formula with contaminated water, some parents diluted their formula inorder to make the supply lasts, and some parents used the formula as a replacement ofbreastfeeding. Nestle infant formula is a supplement to breastfeeding and Nestle had neveradvertised that bottle feeding should be be the replacement of breastfeeding. In this case study,Nestle has done unethical business practices. They failed to inform the customer about theimpact of misusing the baby formula, causing “baby bottle disease.”. Nestle has taken actionsthat are most typically associated with large multinational corporations. Nestle has done

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