The Ford Pinto Case From A Utilitarian And Deontological Perspective

885 words - 4 pages

Bedrijfsethiek Opdracht 2

The Ford Pinto Case

From a Utilitarian perspective

In utilitarianism, the merit or demerit of an action is entirely determined by the effect it has on everyone affected by the action. An action is deemed morally right if it leads to the greatest possible happiness for the greatest number of people. The motivation behind a choice is never considered in utilitarian theory. For reasons of verifiability, it only ever looks at the consequences of what you’ve done.

For that reason, it is an ethical theory that greatly appeals to businesses. Trying to determine how much something is going to cost (the negative effects) versus the benefits (the positive ...view middle of the document...

These values are admittedly difficult to price, and it is not difficult too imagine why they did not include them in their analysis.

So they sold an unsafe product. By placing a price on something that is strictly immeasurable, the value of a human life, they abused utilitarian theory to their own ends of profit, margin and market share. It is impossible to measure what life is, because it is different to everyone. Is the life of a teenager from suburban America the same as the life of an elderly individual living in rural China? Why on earth wouldn’t it be? But in terms of benefits and costs to Ford, the teenager is worth much more as someone who is affected by their actions. But this basis of inclusion does not allow you to price their continued existence.

Ford neglected to consider the costs of lying, cheating and endangering their customers. You cannot use money to predict the consequences of your actions. The ends rarely justify the means, and while utilitarianism is certainly a good basis for ethical business practices, it cannot be seen in terms of dollars if it is to be successful. Money is only one consequence, using it exclusively diminishes the importance of all the other consequences.

Under utilitarian ethics, Ford acted in a morally corrupt manner.

From a Deontological perspective

Deontology, in contrast with utilitarianism, tries to judge the morality of an action by it’s adherence to sound ethical rules, and it’s considerations of others’ rights. It considers not only the outcome, but also the intention of an act. According to Immanuel...

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