Free «Ethics and Social Justice» Essay Sample


The area of ethics and social justice is a wide area, one that requires active participation of all the members in a society to ensure its full realization. Shaw, W. H. (2009) defines the word utilitarianism as the notion or idea suggesting that when an individual undertakes an action, the moral worth of that action is singularly determined by the usefulness of the action in enhancing utility maximization leading to a minimal negative utility as a result of the action. In this case, utility is defined as the knowledge, preference satisfaction, pleasure among others that all form sentient beings. Therefore, utility can be termed as a form of consequence in that the moral worth of any action is dependent on the actions outcome.  The successful implementation and observance of ethical behavior and the promotion of social justice leads to the creation of a harmonious society, one that respects the rights of its members and promotes their well being.

According to Bentham, J. (1998) in his "Utilitarian Theory of Value" in the article 'Interests, Universal, and Particular', an emphasis should be made to enhance societal political and moral philosophy ensuring that it effectively promotes public utility and seeks to ensure the moral responsibility and accountability of each member in the society. This he suggests are directly linked to the significant aspects surrounding the universal/ general interest of all society's members through an effective partnership that takes care of and guarantees for the interests of all the existing members of the society. In this regard, the end result of any government's commitment to the promotion of social justice together with the theme of all morality remains to be the advancement and promotion of the general interest of every societal member. At the same time, Cooper, T. (2006). Utilitarianism is therefore the aspect of ensuring that all members of a society gain happiness and pleasure after engaging in all actions because this is the ultimate importance of all actions.

Dyzenhaus, D., Moreau, S. R. and Ripstein, A. (2003) argue that, there has been the occurrence of events in the recent past in many parts of the world in the news that are seriously chronicling to human rights violation both in public and nonprofit organizations and therefore something needs to be done to restore morality and ethical behavior in the society. Among these actions include the brutal and in human raping of women and young girls in the Democratic republic of Congo, an act that has continued for a long time without singular and common condemnation. Such an act is considered selfish, brutal and barbaric because it's done without a single thought of the pain that these women victims suffer both physically and emotionally. It's an act that goes against and completely defies ethical teachings and all forms of morality in the society because its consequences are severe minimize the benefits to the culprits only.

In addition, Singer, P. (2001) suggests that the terrorist attack that took place in the United states commonly referred to as the November 11 remains to be a major reflection of the deteriorating ethical and moral standards in the society. This attack was a deliberate mission that led to the injury of a big number of innocent people planned and executed by a small group of people who disregard morality. The benefits if there were any went to a small group of people probably the satisfaction of their egos yet a large number of people got injured with others succumbing to the injuries. More were left in difficulty with many losing their family members, parents, relatives and loved ones from the attack. Similarly, the case of BP carelessness and putting their profit interests first in the most recent and famous deep water oil spill that led to the death of thousands of marine life, loss of jobs and environmental pollution is another classical case of moral and ethical degradation.

The company put its interests first forgetting the interests of the rest of the people in ensuring that all their activities are well planned and executed to avoid the occurrence of such disasters. In the three cases above, there is a strong reflection of a gross violation of human ethical and moral standards where by an individual or several individuals put their interests first before that of others sometimes considering how much they would benefit only regardless of the effect such actions would have on the other members of the society. In the case of BP, the greatest number of people would have benefited if the company was keen to follow all reports and rules regarding deep sea drilling considering all safety measures are put in place and therefore environmental pollution would not have occurred as a result of the spill because this would have been avoided.

In the above examples of events that have led to serious chronicling to human rights violation both in public and nonprofit organizations, and can therefore be ranked according to the utilitarian theory. Basically, the effects of these actions on the victims were not considered by the offenders and therefore the pleasure that was derived from the action was given priority disregarding the pain inflicted on the victims. The events of September eleven in the U.S would rank highly and under the principle of asceticism because this was an action against the principle of utility. The issue of pleasure and pain was less considered as the offenders were not to gain pleasure in any way except their colloquies since they both were to die in the crush. However, pain would be inflicted on the victims; this ranks it highest among the three. In the case of rape in Congo, this can be ranked averagely because it lies squarely within the principles of utility in that the offenders derived pleasure doing the action but inflicted pain on the victims. This is not as severe as when serious injuries are physically inflicted on a victim and therefore pain as a result of an action, the women were hurt most emotionally hence terming it as mild pain. On the other hand, the case of environmental pollution by Bp and loss of jobs as a result of the oil spill ranks lowest and can be termed as falling under the category of sympathy and antipathy .

This is because BP did not gain any pleasure as a result of the occurrence of the spill neither did it deliberately plan to carry out the action. However, the effect of the spill on the victims including fishermen, beach business operators among others caused them pain as a result of job losses, in ability to earn income among others as a result of the spill. This caused pains alone to the victims and no pleasure was derived by BP. However the company as a result of sympathy and concern was to assist the victims recover from the spill by giving them an alternative income source, compensation and support until they could resume their normal life's. This ranking has been arrived as through a consideration on the events that led to the violations discussed in the examples and comparing the motives behind the events as harbored by the offenders as well as the effect that they had on the victims considering the intensity of the effect as well.

In conclusion, utilitarianism proposes that an individual should at all times calculate the benefits that would come from his/her engaging in any action to ascertain the importance and benefits of the end result and therefore one should engage in that which leads to the achievement of maximum or the greatest pleasure and for the highest number of times. According to Bentham therefore, there are definite rules and codes that define an propose ways in which  an individual must try to do in each and every action he engages in and every situation to ensure that such action benefits a maximum number of people. Bentham proposed the hedonic calculus that should be adopted and used by all people in the society before they are able to make a decision on the utility associated with every particular action.


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