Utilitarianism and the Ford Pinto Case
The goal of utilitarianism is to seek out pleasure and base your decision making on creating the greatest possible happiness for the greatest number of people. Utilitarianism is only concerned with producing a desirable result, regardless of whether the action taken to arrive at the desired result was good or bad. In business, all sorts of factors are involved in creating products ranging from where to purchase raw materials, where to build a factory, how much to pay employees, how much to charge for the product, etc. However, the top priority for any business is to figure out how to maximize profit. In this paper, we will discuss how ethics plays a role in business decision-making and more importantly, discuss how utilitarianism plays a role. Utilitarianism would say that a business is morally right if it considers all the consequences before making a decision to adopt a course of action, whether it is good or bad. However, it can be difficult to determine just what the consequences should be when making a cost-benefit analysis. For the purposes of discussion, we will utilize the infamous Ford Pinto case as a study in utilitarian ethical theory and its business application. The Ford Pinto was a car produced from 1971-1978 that was conceptualized to compete with smaller Japanese imports that were gaining American market share at the time. The goal was to produce a more fuel-efficient vehicle that weighed less than 2,000 pounds that would be sold for less than $1800. Typically, it would take 43 months to design and produce a car. However, the Pinto was rushed to market in 25 months. They failed to test for rear-end impact before placing the vehicles on the consumer market and finally ran the rear impact test after many had already been sold. Not only did the Pinto fail the test, but Ford also learned that the design and placement of the fuel tank made it susceptible to puncture by a bolt in the bumper and...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document