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Paper Topic:

BUSINESS ETHICS - Utilitarian Analysis of the Pinto Case

Running head : Utilitarian Analysis of the Pinto Case

Utilitarian Analysis of the Pinto Case

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Utilitarian Analysis of the Pinto Case

The Pinto Case

Safety features of cars are good subjects of ethical inquiry because they involve a person 's valuation of human life . Ford Motor Company has always been in the middle of discussions regarding car safety , beginning in mid-1960s , when the corporation 's president , Arjay Miller , figured in a car accident which made him witness to the susceptibility to fire of Ford cars

(Dowie , 1977 . He thus vowed to passionately pursue the development of safety mechanisms for Ford cars . Unfortunately , a Ford Pinto car figured in a car accident seven years thereafter , which led to the death of a woman and very severe injuries in a thirteen-year-old boy (Dowie , 1977

The disaster involving the Ford Pinto would , at first sight , appear to be far from any ethical considerations . However , the facts and events that led to the car accident brings to fore certain opportunities for ethical deliberation

The Ford Pinto was designed , developed and manufactured at a time when competition and pressure were intense from Volkswagen and other Japanese companies for a dominant share in the market for small cars (Wills , et al . To rise to the challenge , Ford rushed the production of its Pinto model . Thus , instead of taking the usual forty-three months in producing the car , Ford finished production of the Pinto in just twenty five . The deliberate haste with which Ford pushed production of the car casts a shadow on the adoption of appropriate procedures in production (Wills et al

Another relevant fact pointing to responsibility in the car accident was the discovery made by the Ford engineers that there was a major flaw in the car 's design . They discovered that the Pinto 's fuel system is highly susceptible to rupturing , which could lead to explosion (Wills et al . Despite this , Ford proceeded to manufacture the cars because they were already in the assembly line and they wanted to meet the non-negotiable specifications set by its designer , Iacocca . Thus , Ford threw caution to the wind and went ahead , just to beat competition (Wills , et al

The Ford Pinto case could be analyzed by applying the utilitarian principle in the various stages of its development where the opportunity for moral deliberation presented itself . Utilitarianism holds that utility is the foundation of morals . Utilitarianism proposes the Greatest Happiness Principle ' as the determinant of the morality of an action or decision (Kemerling , 2002 . Under this principle , human action shall be judged according to its tendency to promote happiness or pain . Thus , an action that tends to promote happiness to the greatest number shall be considered morally right . Conversely , an action shall be considered morally wrong if it tends to promote the opposite of happiness , which is pain (Mill ,1863

Applying this principle in the given scenario , it could be concluded that Ford did not comply with the utilitarian principle of morality in speeding...

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