Price Tag on Life

Topics: Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham Pages: 4 (1388 words) Published: January 17, 2012

In this video, some real life examples of Utilitarian principles and morality are presented. Generally, utilitarianism is an area of philosophy relating to the principles of justice, fairness, ethics and one of the studies helping to answer to the question “what is the right thing to do?” Jeremy Bentham is an early advocate of utilitarian philosophy, in which, the highest principle of morality is to maximize the general welfare and mass happiness. In other words, to maximize the utility and happiness over the suffering.

To make comparison of come certain things, following the utilitarian theory, cost-benefit analysis can be done to be clear about expected benefits and sacrifices, which, consequently, leads to placing a dollar value to stand for utility on the costs and benefits of various proposals. At the beginning, to put you in the picture or real life examples, I would like to start with recent cost-benefit analysis made by Phillip Morris, which shows that governmental savings from premature death of smokers in Czech Republic seems to be so high that it is better for the country’s economic health not to reduce smoking. These benefits include pension savings, savings on elderly housing and tax revenues for tobacco sales, but how fair is it, to put a value on human life and, even more, decide that this value is too less in comparison to general welfare and should be put on jeopardy?

According to this Utilitarian principle it is necessary to determine a value of human life in order to make a comparison and cost-benefit analysis to study how big is the sacrifice in order to increase or sustain overall happiness, however, some objections on this issue exist. Is the right thing to do, the just basis in politics and law, to maximize the utility? Actually, what comes out of the utilitarianism is the less value of the minority needs and decisions, because, if it does not contribute to the general happiness and pleasure for the...
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