Professor Carroll Macfarlane
BUS 309: Business Ethics
There are several ways that groups can protest or stand up for something they believe is wrong. In September of 2011 a group decided to start a movement known as the Occupy Wall Street movement, which soon became an international phenomenon with thousands of followers. This radical movement started by protesting Wall Street. This paper will discuss what the Occupy Wall street movement is, as well as the moral and economic implications involved in the movement. So what is Occupy Wall Street? It is an ongoing protest against the social and economic inequality which is influenced by corporations on the government. More specifically the corporations being protested are that part of the financial services sector. These corporations are known as the 1% which includes Banks and mortgage companies. The followers of the Occupy Wall Street movement are fighting for a change in the income disparity of the US. What occupying entails are protesters who “occupy” an area, regardless of police officials demands to vacate premises, in order to get their point across. This radical protest was started by a magazine called Adbusters who emailed their 90,000 plus followers informing them of a twitter hash tag #occupywallstreet and a date (September 17, 2011) when it would take place (Schneider 2011). What began with few individuals in the planning session would end up with 2000 individuals on rendezvous day. Eventually this number grew not only at Wall Street, but around the US where other occupy movements started popping up. Occupying Wall Street means fighting for a change in the disparity of wealth and those that decided to occupy or join the movement all have different meanings from what this means. The movement brings up to light the corruption in the financial services industry and how their lack of accountability is responsible for the extreme gap in economic inequality around the US. According to cbs news the top 20% of income earners in the US control about 80% of the wealth through the country (Montopoli 2011). That means that the fewest amount of people amount to more money than the largest group. The declaration of occupation of NYC states, “As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.” According to this statement there are many individuals who are impoverished due to the ethical mishaps of the corporate world. It seems that corporations around the world are always more concerned about their personal gains than that of the citizens around it. One of the major issues that the OWS movement is protesting is the government bail out that occurred. Wall Street was in serious debt and the government put up a lot of money to bail them out, making this event one of the major reasons why we are in our current economic state.
Utilitarianism is “the moral doctrine that we should always act to produce the greatest balance of good over bad for everyone affected by our actions” (Shaw 2010). This theory pretty much states that what constitutes as moral or ethical is that which brings about the most happiness. In order to understand and analyze utilitarianism against the ethical implications stated up...