Comparing And Contrasting Different Ethical Theories Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Society, Singer, Song, Happiness, Politics, Business, Sociology, Organization

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/07


The essay deals with two schools of thought within Utilitarianism that address the process by which society can attain the greatest happiness for all. These are the free market and social justice theories. The theories are diametrically related. Peter Singer postulates that the greatest happiness can only be a reality when all of us, regardless of our geographical distance care and give towards the alleviation of suffering for those in distress. He asserts that it is pointless to have excesses when others do not have the basics. Friedman advocates for the free economy in which those with instruments of production seek to optimize societal happiness by producing to make optimum profits. He argues that if they make maximum profits, it is only because the society is enjoying their products, hence the society’s happiness. Whereas Singer’s theory appears benevolent, it is difficult to attain. There are always disasters and responding to them in a timely way will always remain a challenge. Free markets hold the key to social satisfaction. Whenever businesses operate ethically in a given locality, they will be a great catalyst for economic emancipation, hence happiness.

Comparison and Analysis

It is our responsibility to stop hunger, disease and poverty if we consider them bad wherever they are manifesting. The logic being that if we can stop anything bad from happening without sacrificing anything bigger, then it is our responsibility to do it. Peter Singer (2), bases his argument on the social problem that at that time was in East Bengal. They lacked the basics such as food, shelter and medical care. He sees the entire world, particularly the affluent as responsible for alleviating the problem of the suffering refugees. Singer compares the United Kingdom’s giving to help the refugees to its financial contribution to the Anglo-French Concorde project (Singer 15). In comparison, it was more than thirty times larger than the amount it gave to the Bengal Relief Fund. The implication he says that we consider it the responsibility of others to contribute to other people's well-being, thereby abdicating our responsibility to them. He rightly appeals to our human feelings in making the point. However, currently there are disasters almost everywhere on the planet, and it is difficult to know where to give, even if there was a surplus. Strong corporate organizations within each locality in conjunction with governments hold the key to societal happiness, and not foreign aid.
Population control is indeed the real solution to the problem of poverty. However, he asserts that it should not be a reason not to give aid to countries with high population. The productive thing, he says is to give aid to organizations fighting to control population in those areas. He argues against the notion that giving aid takes away the task from the national government. Peter Singer’s arguments are only workable up to a given point. Disasters should cause people to give and help those in trouble; however, on the long term the focus should be on helping them to be economically productive.
Business organizations have a duty to contribute to the good of the society by acting in a self-interested manner. The focus of business executives should be on making as much profit as possible. That implies that their profitability is an indicator that they are providing what the society really needs and thereby contributing to the process of satisfaction. Friedman argues that it is the government that has the tools to control inflation, improve the environment, and fight poverty among other things (Friedman 13). He rightly argues that they may lack the skills to carry out social responsibilities. Friedman relies heavily on the principles of capitalism postulated by F.A Hayek. According to Hayek (12), capitalism is a way of considering the knowledge and desires of the entire society and arranging the material components necessary to fulfill such desires. Friedman sees the business organizations as the channels to fulfill the societal desires.


The local business organizations have a hand in contributing to the society's satisfaction and happiness. Foreign aids may be of help, but they are not sustainable, and may sometimes come with conditions. When businesses operate ethically under the government regulation, they will help a society prosper materially and be in happiness. Friedman’s theory has better logic than Singer’s does; in that as much as we must be benevolent to other person’s in trouble that cannot be relied upon to alleviate poverty and suffering. However much aid is given, if the society cannot become self-reliant, it is still not effective. Furthermore, Friedman relies on Adam’s Smith theory of the ‘invisible hand’ that will naturally bring circumstances to a state of balance.

Works Cited

Friedman, Milton. The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Profits (1).pdf
Hayek, F.A. The Uses of Knowledge in Society(1).pdf
Lancaster, Carol. Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Web.
Singer, Peter. Famine, Affluence and Morality (1).pdf

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Comparing And Contrasting Different Ethical Theories Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 07, 2020. Accessed June 28, 2022.

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