Written Assignment for Module 2
1. Shaw and Barry distinguish two different forms of utilitarianism. What are these two forms. Briefly describe each and use examples.
Act Utilitarianism and Rule Utilitarianism are the two different forms of utilitarianism that Shaw and Barry distinguish. Utilitarianism refers to the greatest happiness principle for the most amounts of people. Act utilitarianism “states that we must ask ourselves what the consequences of a particular act in a particular situation will be for all those affected. If its consequences bring more net good than those of any alternative course of action, then this action is the right one and the one we should perform” (Shaw and Barry, pg.60). I look at this as to mean when choosing between two alternative acts in a situation then the right act is the one that brings the best result or the most happiness, basically the consequences of a single act. Rule utilitarianism “maintains that the utilitarian standard should be applied not to individual actions but to moral codes as a whole. The principles that make up that code would then be the basis for distinguishing right actions from wrong actions” (Shaw and Barry, pg.77). I look at this to me at measuring the consequences of the act repeated over and over again as if it was a rule whenever there are similar situations.
2. What do economists mean by the "declining marginal utility of money"?
Declining marginal utility of money stated by Shaw and Barry as “simply means that successive additions to one’s income produce, on average, less happiness or welfare that did earlier additions” (Shaw and Barry, pg.112). I look at this as with every additional dollar or good, the value and happiness declines, the additional dollar or good loses its initial feeling or worth compared to the previous additions. A good example would be someone would really enjoy a piece of chocolate cake, and if offered a second piece they may agree that they would