Utilitarianism being an ethical theory; stipulates that what is ethical and beneficial can be determined by the actions that maximize the overall happiness of the majority. This means that one can only weigh the effectiveness and worth of an action after its outcome (Smart, & Williams 1973). Unocal made the right decision by investing in the pipeline. The benefits accrued from this project positively affected majority of the population. The economy of Thailand improved in respect of project; families that lived along the pipeline benefited by getting quality education, health care, transportation, and job opportunities. Unocal was the major benefactor of the pipeline project and, had large profits and revenues that were generated from the project. The Karen population was a minority one and used to oppose the government; this led to friction between the community and the military. The community felt like, its rights were violated by the governments’ but given the benefits that resulted from the project, the Karen community was positively transformed. Unocal not only did a good thing to invest in the project, but also improved the livelihoods of the majority population (Smart & William, 1973).
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Most States knew that Burma’s government used military dictatorship even before Unocal decided to invest in the pipeline project. The Burmese Government was used to utilizing forced labor, a factor that Unocal and Total vice presidents learnt through the hiring of the Control Risk Group. The Military was to be involved in the project only if, it didn’t use forced labor. Unocal knew that even the change in terms of governance and military violation of human rights, would take some time to take effect.
Engagement is better than isolation for the under developed countries with unstable governments. If Unocal did not decide to follow up with the pipeline project, Burma would be worse than it already was prior to the project. The military’s assault on the populations was a political problem that could not be matched with the improved livelihoods of the community. The living conditions of the Burmese population improved through the creation of job opportunities; a move that created a wealthy middle class along the pipeline. Regarding the pipeline project, a social relationship developed among the Unocal, Total, and Burmese government. Trading relationships were developed as well with neighboring countries to push the economy of Burma. If Unocal had not invested in Burma, the poverty-stricken country would have continued to suffer due to lack of revenue generating activities (Smart & William, 1973).
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