Good Example OF Ethical Paper Essay
Human life is priceless, and it follows, therefore, that one cannot quite place a value on it. It is because no one can quantify an individual’s life like the way he/she quantifies material things. One cannot say that a person’s life is more worthy or valuable than another person’s. It is possible to give an estimate of the value of an object, say a piece of cloth, furniture, vehicle, property, or house. The reason for this is that for such things it requires time, money, strength, dedication and commitment to make or build. Therefore, their total value is the sum of all those inputs. However, for a human being the situation is different. No one can explain with a distinct sureness the origin of people or who created them. Religion does quite a good attempt at this but even then, different religions have their various accounts of origin of man, and every individual chooses to believe what his or her religion says. It is only sensible that the one that gives life to be the one that can place a value on it (Ackerman and Lisa 1553).
In respect to the above, an individual should not be permitted to place a value on a person’s life. Nor should a government or a company that then begs several questions. ’How can a decision of marketing certain products that are risky to some and beneficial to others be made? Or how can one estimate the value to which we can compensate victims of a disaster or crisis? In such instances, the priority should lie with the interests of human beings as individuals. The processes should be fair and non-discriminatory. For example, in choosing what products to market to individuals that are both risky and beneficial, companies should assess which of the two outweigh the other. Will it benefit more people than cause harm or the vice versa? (Rice and Barbara 1964) And for those that cause harm to some individuals, the company should endeavour to make the risks minimum as possible. In addition, they should put on labels on their products to indicate this (Rice and Barbara 1965). However, even before this stage is reached it is important that companies and other business strive to manufacture products that equally benefit everyone in the society.
It is clear that no amount of compensation can restore life to someone who has lost it in the event of a disaster. Money will only benefit those who remain after the individual has passed on. A good way, to honour the deceased, is to give the money to his or her living relatives especially their families i.e. widows, widowers or the children left behind. One can only know how much to give out in such situations basing on the consequences of the disaster on the individual (if alive) or to his family. A person who loses part of the body, for example, an arm deserves more compensation than one who has lost something materialistic like say a car. One can neither recreate an arm nor estimate its value correctly, but it is possible for a car. All in all, to make a decision that would involve the estimation of the value of a person’s life, the individual interests and what he or she holds dear in life ought to be put first. It is perhaps the only way close to estimating somebody’s value. What makes an individual is what he or she loves (Rice and Barbara 1966).
Cost benefits analysis is a system that economists use to arrive at critical financial decisions. Economists use it to estimate the strengths and weakness of alternatives that meet requirements of a business. It is a simple way of determining the feasibility of an investment or business decision that is if the total benefits outweigh the costs. However, the concept is quite unethical when one uses it in valuing a human’s life. As pointed out above, money cannot measure a human being’s life. However, it helps if the benefits in the CBA concept are in terms of increasing the quality of human life, for example, provision of clean water, enough food, power and quality health care. However, this does not mean that the question of benefits outweighing costs is not morally irrelevant. For a broad range of social and individual decisions, whether the advantages of an act outweigh its cost is a sufficient question to ask. However, this is not for all of the decisions of such type. These may involve situations where some duties make an act wrong even if it means that the in the long run benefits would outweigh costs (Ackerman and Lisa 1555). For example, applying the CBA concept in a situation where a decision resulted in the death of 180 human beings even if there were greater benefits to the company is morally unacceptable. In such a case, the decision makers need to consider the issue of morality and human life before they apply the concept of the cost-benefit analysis before they make a decision (Ackerman and Lisa 1578).
The moral foundations scale questionnaire revealed a lot about me and other people. The scale is a measure of the reliance on and the endorsement of five psychological foundations of morality that exists in most cultures. These include Harm and care, fairness and reciprocity, loyalty, respect for authority and purity. A large percentage of individuals, I among them, build our morality on harm and fairness. That is, many people, in particular politically liberal individuals measure morality basing on how well one treats others. Politically conservative people care about harm and fairness too, but they base morality more on the concept of loyalty and respect for authority. They also value purity and sanctity. Though a liberal, I also tend to value purity and chastity a lot according to the survey that is somewhat accurate. The survey answer a lot regarding a lot of issues in the society now (Rice and Barbara 1966).
Conservatives prefer activities that promote a state of maintenance of order and peace. They, therefore, advocate retaining of old laws and traditions. They are not quite open to new things like same-sex marriages or young leadership. In contrast, liberal individuals are open to such new developments and ideas and oppose old restrictive policies. Liberal individuals are more likely to rebel against authority if they feel that it is faulty.
One unifying factor about morality is that it centres on human life. Therefore, whichever stand someone takes regardless of his or her political affiliation he or she deserves to respect it. Nothing is quite as worthy, sacred and precious as human life. Also, no person’s life is better or more valuable than the other. The decisions everyone makes should consequently take this into consideration (Ackerman and Lisa 1580).
Ackerman, Frank and Lisa Heinzerling. “Pricing the priceless: Cost-benefit analysis of environmental protection.” University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 2002: 1553-1584.
Rice, Dorothy and Barbara Cooper. “The economic value of human life.” American Journal Of Public Health And The Nations Health. (57) 1967: 1954-1966
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