The Ford Pinto
What moral issues does the Pinto case raise?
ANS: The Pinto case raise the moral issues of what is the dollar value of the human life. That the businesses should not be putting a value on human life and disregard a known deadly danger. In order to perform a risk/benefit analysis, all costs and benefits must be expressed in some common measure. This measure is typically in dollars, as the Ford Motor Company used in its analysis. This can prove difficult for things that are not commonly bought and sold on the open market. Therefore, totell someone that there is a certain price for their life is a preposterous notion. There are numerous things which individuals consider priceless. Ford thought they could get away with a dangerous automobile by paying off those lawsuits from people who were injured and the families of the dead. Ford thought it was more cost effective not to fix the dangerous condition than to spend the money to save people. In the criticism of using a number, Ford seemed to blindly follow the dictated numbers without giving any extra consideration to the fact that it in face was a human life they were quantifying. It is hard to achieve values without norms and we have ineffective norms without values. Norms are rules that prescribe what concrete actions are required, permitted or forbidden. These are rules and agreement about how people are supposed to treat each other. Everyone has the right to have a safe and healthy workplace or have the right to expect product they purchase to be safe. Lesson learned is that they shouldn’t be ignoring an obviously dangerous condition and shouldn’t be putting a value on human life.
Is cost-benefit analysis a legitimate tool? What a role, if any, should it play in moral deliberation? Critically assess the example of cost-benefit analysis given in the case study. Is there anything unsatisfactory about it? Could it have been improved upon in some way?...
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