Before one can make an informed decision as to whether Martha Stewart's handled the incident responsibly or whether or not her actions were moral or immoral, one must first understand the basics of ethics and understand whose rights are involved and how they were affected. Then one must also examine who will be helped and who will be hurt by her actions and then make a decision based on the information and personal values as they relate to the issue. Martha Stewart was charged in 2001 with making false statements, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice during her sale of ImClone the day before the FDA announced its refusal to review a new cancer drug. This sale was scrutinized by authorities because it is illegal to have inside information and trade the stock before the bottom drops out.
In order to understand the ethics surrounding her statements and actions we must compare her actions against the different theories. Normative ethics shows us how to mentally dissect an issue and make a moral decision. There are two basic theories: utilitarian and deontological. When utilitarians make a moral decision, they look at the consequences of a decision in order to decide if it is right or wrong. This approach is called consequentialism. Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill founded the most widely accepted consequentialist theory called utilitarianism. It comes from the word utility meaning good. They suggest that given that everyone's happiness is of equal value, a decision is right if it maximizes happiness for the greatest number of people over the long term. They always look at the long-term effects and believe in the course of action that promotes the greatest good and the least harm over time.
Deontological theory is concerned with inherent rights and duties. It is derived from the Greek word deontos, which means duty. Without consideration given to the decision's consequences, this theory focuses on the... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2006, 04). Martha Stewart Ethics. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 04, 2006, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Martha-Stewart-Ethics-85524.html
"Martha Stewart Ethics" StudyMode.com. 04 2006. 04 2006 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Martha-Stewart-Ethics-85524.html>.
"Martha Stewart Ethics." StudyMode.com. 04, 2006. Accessed 04, 2006. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Martha-Stewart-Ethics-85524.html.