Varian Patella Philosophy 131 Michael F. Martin 03/08/2010 The Ford Pinto Case and Utilitarianism In this essay, I will talk about the ford Pinto case, and how the information was withheld from public in order to save company from huge losses and at the same time keep company’s reputation Intact. I don’t think the decision of the ford company to with hold the information about the safety-issue of the car for which they were already aware of; was the right thing to do.
I agree. As a utilitarian the only thing In my mind should be to evaluate the issue solely by utility in providing happiness, neural welfare or pleasure as summed among all sentient beings. The basic ethical principle of this theory is of consequences, weighing them up to determine how every person involved in any event, issue, proposal, project and so forth, would be affected.
The aim in doing so would be to decide on a morally right action, one that would result In the greatest overall positive consequences for everyone So every aspect must be examined to evaluate potential good and bad outcomes; If the goods outweigh the beads, then morally, the action can be deemed right. If there are more ad consequences predicted, then the opposite applies. A utilitarian should evaluate the situation based on long term as well as short term consequences.
Although the ford management knew the design flaws; still the design was approved which shows that they ignored the greatest overall utility benefit. The management had Just aimed to design a car which could be sold at competitive prices by keeping lowest costs regardless of the safety of the passengers. If the case is evaluated on the basis of long term consequences, the information about the issue regarding the safety was owning to come out sooner or later. That is directly going to affect company’s reputation throughout the world as a car manufacturer.
I believe that even for designing an economic car the safety standards should be carefully considered. Ford should design the car with complete accident-proof feature regardless of dollar spent on It. It Is ethically wrong that the company looks its benefits first and designs such a car and places value on life. It is the corporate social responsibility of the company to see the interest of the consumers first and then look for its own benefits. In addition, at the end the loss was incurred by the company by having to recall the defective cars.
Therefore, social responsibility is also important for the long term survival of the company. The cost/benefit analysis In the ford pinto case puts value on the human life. Is that even possible? On what basis should the value of the person be counted? These was certainly a wrong assumptions made during the analysis. Human lives are invaluable because there is no limit to the capabilities and the potential abilities of a human being. In addition to that, the emotional losses to he family of the injured had to be accounted for as well.
It also didn’t include loss of earnings due to the injury to the family members. The act utilitarian approach requires that we determine what will maximize good consequences. The good consequences In our case would not only De a canapés car out also a sates car. People would rather pay few dollars more if it is going to increase safety. The managers at Ford did not think that making safer cars would have resulted in more good consequences than making cheaper car. This shows that production of Ford Pinto car was unethical as any utilitarian would agree.
Hence, the creation of the Pinto did not fit the ethical requirements of utilitarianism due to the fact that the overall costs in terms of long-term payouts and the negative reputation that the Pinto attached to the Ford brand name. Argument: In a situation such as this, one had to make a decision. Cost/benefit analysis seemed to be the most effective way to evaluate the case. The process was followed and although it is morally not the right thing to do, it had to be done for the benefits of the majority at a cost of minority.
Defense: I think everyone has the right to say when it comes to safety of their own self. What wrong has minority done so that they have to face the consequences of other’s action? They certainly don’t deserve it and majority doesn’t have any right to make decision on others. As a solution in this case, right thing would have been to reveal the concerns regarding the car safety to the public and let them decide if they want to take any chances with safety issues. That is for the cars not already sold. The cars that were already sold, company could have recalled all the cars.
Yes, it would have cost the company a lot but over a longer period of time the same case could turn into an advantage for them. As the people will start to believe that ford motor company’s aim is to provide the best possible car and they won’t at any cost compromise on that. The memo case will instill faith in public that company is ready to lose millions of dollars to provide a good secure vehicle which they can drive without having to worry about the safety. That in turn will blossom their business and that would over weigh the loss that they made during the memo case quite easily.