In the context of business ethics, Ford Pinto case provides a good ground for expounding on this topic. In this case, the company applied the utilitarian theory in the selling of fault car designs of Pinto car of which the gas tank would explode at a rear end collision. This was pointed out as to potentially lead to explosions and burning with greater detriment to the drivers of the Pinto. By making the use of benefit/cost analysis based on the utilitarian theory, the company resorted to sell Pinto without correcting this fault as it would cost about $137.5 million compared to $49.5 million that would be used to compensate for those who suffer in the accidents that may arise (Birsch & Fielder, 1994).
In this perspective, it is important to bring out the point that what the company did was unethical as this meant that the human life was devalued and respect for human rights was violated in order to gain profits only. Needless to say, it is arguably right to state that the American industry is at too many risks for lawsuits to remain competitive in the global market. This is due to the fact that some of the business ethics theory applied in America only value profits instead of human life.
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Arguably, lawsuits like the Pinto case against Ford should rather be allowed and should therefore not be disallowed or limited. This is because, in any business set up, human life should be respected and treated with the sanctity it deserves (Zsolnai, 2008). This would as a result lead the industry to making of more secure vehicles and designs thus limiting explosions leading to deaths. In this case and other as such product liability situations, restraint should be applied in order to control the litigiousness that seems to characterize American life. In order to achieve this restriction, the involvement of the government which involves the citizen as a taxpayer in the ownership of the car companies, can translate to more respect for human life. At the same time, safety measures would increase.
The ethical stance through which I condemn the case for ford Pinto to be unethical is based on the social contract business ethics theory which otherwise seeks the welfare and the satisfaction of everyone in the society in a business set up rather than considering consequences (Friedrichs, 2009). Thus the approach that was used by Pinto was that the end justifies the means without putting into consideration the value, suffering and the effect of the design to the users. Even if the government was wholly or partially involved in such a case, the ethical position I have taken in condemning this would not change as this is a violation of human rights to live. Why would profits be preferred at the expense of human life? It is unethical and an immoral act that is against law and this calls respect for human life.
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