Utilitarianism in Health Care Issues

Topics: Ethics, Utilitarianism, Virtue Pages: 3 (1208 words) Published: June 24, 2010
In this paper, I will evaluate Health Canada’s argument to the Ministry of Health that coalmining in Dunsmuir Coalmine, Belleville NS needs to be shut down as a moral good to the miners, in consideration of their health. I will argue, using virtue theory and utilitarian philosophy, that coalmining in the town should not be shut down, as shutting it down would not be ultimately beneficial to the miners and their families, and therefore would not be a moral good. Firstly, I will summarise Health Canada’s argument for the shutting down of the mines. I will then explicate the main points of virtue theory. Following that, I will argue that the tenets of virtue theory instead works in favor of letting the miners keep their job. As well, I will explain the utilitarian theory, and follow that by arguing that utilitarianism, as well, would favor the continued operation of the coalmines.

Health Canada argues that coalmines in Belleville, Nova Scotia, need to be closed down as it has extremely harmful effects on its workers. The former states that working in mines leads to an increased chance of contracting pulmonary disease. While it is true that keeping the mines open leads to economic benefits, these benefits are outweighed by the adverse health effects that the miners in turn suffer as a result of their inherent working conditions. Health Canada states that to allow the workers to work in such conditions “creates ill-health and consequent unhappiness” (Argument for Paper 2 ll.9). Therefore, it is more beneficial for the workers in the long run that the mine be shut down, as any economic stress suffered by the workers would be compensated for by the workers moving away from the hazardous source in order to find new jobs elsewhere. Further, as most the workers are middle-aged and unlikely to continue working for much longer, Health Canada recommends that the mines be closed as soon as possible. This would also have the result in increasing the workers’ happiness...

Cited: Argument for Paper 2. WebCT SFU. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
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