1 / 11

Ford Pinto and utilitarian ethics

Ford Pinto and utilitarian ethics. What are the essential features of utilitarianism?. Consequentialist Maximise pleasure (Bentham) or happiness (Mill) Calculate empirically balance of pleasure over pain or happiness over misery

Télécharger la présentation

Ford Pinto and utilitarian ethics

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author. Content is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use only. Download presentation by click this link. While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server. During download, if you can't get a presentation, the file might be deleted by the publisher.


Presentation Transcript

  1. Ford Pinto and utilitarian ethics

  2. What are the essential features of utilitarianism? • Consequentialist • Maximise pleasure (Bentham) or happiness (Mill) • Calculate empirically balance of pleasure over pain or happiness over misery • Tends to ignore individual rights, classic criticism – minority is sacrificed for majority • Does Mill’s rule utilitarianism get round this problem?

  3. Aims of this lesson • Revise utilitarian ethics • Link it to cost-benefit analysis used by businesses • Consider the case of the Ford Pinto (1972) • Evaluate whether utilitarian ethics is to blame – does the criticism hold good?

  4. We start by viewing a Youtube clip on the Ford Pinto. What are three key facts you can find? View actively! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHGbrlufryw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHGbrlufryw

  5. Style over safety? • Because of styling and cost constraints, locating the gas tank over the axle, which was known to prevent fire in rear-end crashes, was undesirable. The Pinto had to sell for $2,000. • The axle arrangement, in concert with styling constraints, resulted in a small luggage compartment that would be limited in carrying long objects such as golf clubs. • To increase the size of the luggage compartment, the gas tank was relocated to the car’s rear (Strobel, 1994)

  6. This fault meant that Ford’s own test result = explosion in 8/11 tests

  7. Some cost /benefit facts • The piece of plastic cost $11 a car to fit • Estimated cost of fitting $137m • Estimated cost of casualties $48m in compensation • But ….. a problem with utilitarian ethics is we cannot know precisely what the consequences will be…. • Actual compensation cost was millions, and in 1978 a recall took place anyway.

  8. Reputation and ethical outcomes • 500 burn fatalities in crashes (Dowie, 1977). Two million Pintos were sold. • In September 1978, Ford issued a recall for 1.5 million 1971-76, making it the largest recall in the industry up to that time. • One result was the largest personal injury judgment ever ($6.6m awarded). • In the 1979 landmark case State of Indiana v. Ford Motor Co., Ford notoriously became the first American corporation ever prosecuted on criminal homicide charges. Ford was found not guilty in March 1980 (Schwartz, 1991).

  9. Evaluate • Is cost/benefit analysis to blame – or poor cost/benefit analysis based on Government figures ($200,000 per human life)? • Is utilitarian ethics to blame? Or a failure to do a proper analysis of likely consequences based on known facts – that in two-thirds of rear end crash tests the tank exploded?

  10. Write down.. • One element you’ve revised about utilitarian ethics • One problem that emerges when applying utilitarian ethics • One fact about the Pinto case • One sentence you could use in an essay on business ethics

  11. http://stevenclark.com.au/2010/03/13/business-academics-stop-promoting-the-pinto-myth/http://stevenclark.com.au/2010/03/13/business-academics-stop-promoting-the-pinto-myth/

More Related