Watch these two videos:
Utilitarian Ethics: Utilitarianism is the idea/theory that actions are right in proportion they with the happiness they promote, so basically “greater good” thinking.
1.) One of the questions for business ethics in regards to utilitarianism is, what is the scope of interests that a business should be concerned with? It is obvious that a business will be concerned with profits for employees and shareholders, but are there any other interests that a business should take into consideration? Why?
2.) Bentham’s hedonistic calculus is aimed at guiding us in making maximally beneficial choices. Please list the seven categories.
3.) What category rules Bentham out as a mere egoist? How so?
4.) What are the 3 ways that Mill enhances Bentham’s utilitarianism? To answer this please consult the reading and the answer is outlined in the associated Pwr Pnt.
5.) Mill says it is “Better to be human dissatisfied than a pig satisfied”. What do you think he means? Do you agree or disagree? How does this represent an improvement to Bentham’s utilitarianism?
6.) What does Gustafson list as the most damning criticism of utilitarianism? Discuss.
Kantian Ethics: Kantian Ethics involves the ideas that there are absolute moral standards that ought to be adhered to regardless of gain/loss and that persons are to be treated with dignity and respect.
7.) For Kant, what is the one thing that can be taken as good without qualification? What does this mean?
8.) What is a deontologist and what is important to them?
9.) What does Kant call the highest principle that should govern all human beings? How does this work?
10.) Bowie refers to Jack Stack, who proposes an interesting application of Kantian theory called Open-Book management? What is it and do you think it is a good idea?
11.) After having viewed the videos and the memo (found in the associated Pwr Pnt) regarding the Ford Pinto scandal from the 1970s, do you think companies still behave this way? That is, disregard the value of human life for the sake of profits? Try to analyze the case from the utilitarian and Kantian standpoints. Which standpoint do you think best helps to try to address such cases?
12.) In your opinion, what is the main point/value of these readings?
optional question: How does the following scenario perfectly capture the most damning criticism: to remain competitive, a company has decided to use cheaper lumber in the ladders it sells, although this may, in rare instances, cause injury.