Free Essay

The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number

In: Business and Management

Submitted By japarra77
Words 1173
Pages 5
The In Dr. Michael Sandel’s video, “The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number”, the issue of utilitarianism in regards to policy making is discussed. In particular, the philosophies of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are called into question and applied to modern day scenarios that illustrate how difficult it can be to create a policy based on utilitarianism alone. Several issues arise throughout the course of the discussion that create doubt as to its effectiveness as well as convincing evidence in support. In the opening segment, Dr. Sandel speaks about Jeremy Bentham’s idea of utilitarianism. Benthem believed that a society must maximize happiness (utility) in order to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people. He argues that a community is the sum of all its parts and so in deciding on a policy or law for that particular community, all the benefits of a decision must be compared with all the negative impacts of the decision and whatever maximizes the balance of pleasure over displeasure is the correct decision to make. In order to put this in a more modern perspective, Dr. Sandel introduces two cost-benefit analysis’ created by two major American companies that were used in making important business decisions. They did this by placing a dollar value on utility. The first analysis was done by Phillip Morris, a cigarette manufacturer, on a decision of whether or not the Czech Republic should increase the tax on smoking. In the study, Phillip Morris weighed the increased costs of healthcare for smokers against the benefits of them continuing to smoke. Some of these benefits were to be expected, such as increased tax revenue, but others were not. These included healthcare and pension savings as a result of the smokers dying. What they actually found is that the government of The Czech Republic actually stood to gain $147 million by not imposing the tax. This, however, brought up the moral issue in regards to the value of life being left out of the study. The second study involved Ford Motor Company and safety issues involving the Ford Pinto. Having been taken to court as the result of explosions that occurred when the vehicle was rear ended, it became apparent that Ford was aware of the problem and had actually done a cost-benefit analysis on whether to install a shield to protect the gas tank or not. Ford’s study differed from Phillip Morris’s in that it actually assigned a value to human life, which according to Ford Motor Company was $200,000. In their study, they actually found that it was less beneficial for them to install an $11 part than to just ignore the problem. It may seem at first that Ford’s analysis was more comprehensive than Phillip Morris’s, but it actually created another issue. That issue is: How do you assign a dollar value to human life? One student in the audience by the name of Julie, says that it is wrong to even attempt to assign a value, while another argues that a number needs to be assigned and a cost-benefit analysis must be done and if it is not, then the greater good is sacrificed in the process. At this point in the discussion, Dr. Sandel asks the audience who is or isn’t in favor of utilitarianism. Seeing that the majority are in favor, he calls upon Anna, who is not, to ask her reasoning. Anna claims that it is unfair to the minority and asks why their wants or desires are any less important than the majority. This leads to two common objections to utilitarianism. The first is that it fails to respect individual or minority rights. As an example, Dr. Sandel uses Ancient Rome. Were the lives of a few Christians worth the collective pleasure of all the Romans that were entertained by them being fed to lions? The second objection is whether or not it is even possible to assign a dollar value to utility. To highlight this point, Dr. Sandel refers to a study done by a psychologist in the 1930’s, who asked his subjects how much they would have to be paid to endure certain instances of pain or suffering. The results were surprising, with living on a farm in Kansas requiring significantly more money than something quite painful as having a tooth pulled or small toe cut off. This illustrates the difficulty in assigning value to utility as it may vary from person to person or society to society. To add to the difficulty in assigning value to utility, Dr. Sandel asks if there should be a distinction between higher and lower pleasures. Should some people’s preferences be valued more than others? And if so, who is to say whose preferences are of higher value? Dr. Sandel refers to John Stuart Mill, who attempted to address these objections by trying to humanize utilitarianism. He did this by trying to enlarge the view of utilitarianism to include humanitarian concerns such as individual rights and whether or not there was a distinction between higher and lower pleasures. He later argued that it was, in fact, possible to distinguish higher and lower pleasures. According to J.S. Mill this could only be achieved by experiencing both and at that point deciding which one gave you more pleasure. When asked, the majority of the audience agrees that this approach does not succeed in differentiating the two. Dr. Sandel then performs an experiment, showing three videos clips to the audience. When the audience is asked which video they enjoyed most, they overwhelmingly chose a clip of The Simpsons over a clip of a Hamlet soliloquy. However, when asked which was the “higher experience” they chose Hamlet. So although at first they did not agree with J.S. Mill’s theory, Dr. Sandel’s experiment confirmed it. In terms of the El Paso/ Juarez business environment, it is rather hard to apply. The reason for this is the striking difference between economic situations. Although the two cities are close geographically, the nature of business could not be more different. In El Paso there are laws and regulations that require and ensure fair business practices for the most part. On the other hand, in Juarez there is a completely different business environment where the balance between rich and poor is extremely unequal. In regards to higher and lower pleasures, there is a severe dichotomy between the classes. This is easily illustrated with El Paso recently being named one of the safest places to live and Juarez having the distinction as one of the most dangerous and violent cities in the world. With that being said, El Paso has had more than its fair share of public corruption as evidenced in recent local headlines. The fact that these people are held responsible for their actions is proof that the community is not willing to allow a few people to prosper at the expense of the greater good.

Jason Parra
Global Business Environment
CRN: 21728
3/25/12…...

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Greatest Success

...As we sit in the theatre’s lobby at the University of Illinois in Springfield, the nerves and tension begin to settle in all of us. Most were either playing cards or gossiping about the other shows. The rest of us were quietly thinking about the fate of our show. As our coach came out of the office, we headed outside. He holds up a small piece of paper and flips it over. We all start screaming, hugging each other. My greatest success is being the stage manager for a state winning theater program. “Hey, Tom you ready for the play this year?” My coach Mr. Wargin says as I walk into the little theatre. “Of course! It’s my senior year, it is going to be the best year for us, I promise!” As the other stage managers and I stand on the stage taking attendance and pass out the calendar of practices and events, Mr. Wargin tells us a game plan. “We meet every Tuesday and Thursday; occasionally we’ll have a Saturday where we work all day. We’ll use those Saturdays for when we are falling behind and need to finish big projects that we can’t finish during the school week. We provide lunch if you come, and it is greatly appreciated if you do.” He continues to say, “We have two sets to build, one for each play, and we have about a month and a half to complete both”. He explains that our contest play is “The Picnic” and we are going to build two houses, with faux grass, something we have never done before. Our other show, the group interpretation, is “A League of Their Own”. This show...

Words: 1620 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Lifes Greatest Mirical

...Life’s Greatest Miracle The movie “Life's Greatest Miracle” is a very detailed video about the process of how babies are created. The video shows the process of how the baby is made, grows, and develops in the mother’s womb during the pregnancy. Also the newborns development and growth process is being discussed and examined. The video states that everyone’s body is thinking about making babies and our bodies are good at it! And every day there is about 365,000 being made. No matter who you are you looked like a single cell. And from that single cell you were duplicated into one hundred trillion cells. You made hundreds of different types of tissues and dozens of organs including a brain that makes you do remarkable things. Where there is sex there is verity, when it comes to the survival of fittest verity has the definite advantage. All though sexual reproduction is popular it is tricky if you look into a man’s testical it is packed with coiled up tubing if stretched out would expand over half a mile. Inside that tubing an average man is turning out 1000 new sperm every second. That is about 100 million new sperm ever day. And each sperm is one of a kind carrying a unique genetic package. This is all possible through a process called meiosis. In almost every cell in your body you have 30,000 or more different genes spread out on very long strands of DNA called chromosomes. Each of us is made up of trillions of cells. Inside each cell is a nucleus that contains rod......

Words: 689 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Greatest Flory

..."The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall," is a quote by Nelson Mandela, which represents what is needed in order to enjoy success in capturing or living a dream, a hope or a goal. What the quote means, is that in order for one to receive satisfaction, one must be able to overcome failure to achieve success instead of never failing. People don’t ever look at failing as a positive. Instead, they always looked at it as a negative. In reality, people who have never failed will never learn the importance rising after we fall. This quote from Nelson Mandela makes real good sense. If it wasn’t for that type of thinking South Africa will not be where it’s at today. It was his strive to overcome prison and all types of adversity, that South Africa is what it is today. Being able to climb back up and succeed after failure is the only way of really achieving success in capturing a dream, a hope or a goal. By following the quote, Nelson Mandela was able to be the first colored president of South Africa and changed the way politics were handled. If he would have given up after he was thrown in prison, he wouldn’t have gotten South African to where it is today. It was his strive to get back up on his feet and fight for what he believed in that got him to where he was. If he was not able to rise after he fell, where would South Africa be right now? No one person can succeed by staying on the top or no one person can succeed by staying on......

Words: 356 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Review of the Greatest Salesman of the Year

...REVIEW OF THE GREATEST SALESMAN IN THE WORLD NUMBER OF WORDS: 5125 “Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”  ― O G Mandino Born in the USA on the 12th of December, 1923, Mandino was named after his paternal grandfather. Having been the editor of his high school paper, he planned to attend the University of Missouri for journalism. But as destiny would be he couldn’t attend the college as his mother died of a massive heart attack when she was in the kitchen preparing his lunch. It was after this incident that he decided not to go for college and instead joint a paper factory. Mandino was a military officer and a bombardier in the United States Army Air Corps. Mandino’s greatest inspiration was his fellow pilot and movie star, James Stewart. He used to keep a personalized photo of Stewart near him and then wrote his books. After his military services, Mandino found himself as an insurance salesman. But this job did not last him long due to his drinking habit and these habits also made his wife and child away from him. There was a time when Mandino almost tried to kill himself but his various volumes of self help and motivation books helped him leave his alcoholism and become a successful writer and speaker. His famous books were A Better Way to Live; The Choice; The Christ Commission; The Greatest Salesman in the World; The Greatest Salesman in the World, part 2: The End of the...

Words: 5144 - Pages: 21

Premium Essay

Greatest Leader

...Greatest Leader Introduction There have been many great leaders in our time that had a great impact on America, but today there is one person I would like to acknowledge, and that is Martin Luther King Jr. MLKJ have done so much in his lifetime to shape up this country. Just take a minute to think, what if MLKJ would’ve gave up. Ask yourself how would the world be today? That’s why MLKJ is the perfect example of a leader because he never threw in the towel and gave up. He fought to the end. Body Martin Luther king Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. Many of us should be familiar with this well-known day, January 15, known as Martin Luther King Jr. Day. King was born in Atlanta, Ga to the parents of Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta King. As King grew older he Married Coretta Scott King and had four children. King was a well-known leader in the Civil Rights Movement. King was also known in various parts of the country for really pushing the Civil Rights. Aside from being a Civil Rights leader, King was a American Clergy leader, activist, as well as a minister. King was the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at age thirty-five. When King was notified he was selected he donated all the prize money of $54,123 to the civil rights movement. For many of us when we hear Martin Luther King Jr.’s name the first thing that comes to mind is his “I Have A Dream” speech. King delivered this speech in front of thousands of Americans on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln......

Words: 357 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

The Greatest Commandment

...The First and Greatest Commandment The Bible is the sacred text of all Christians. While there are variances between the bibles of some Christian denominations, all Bibles are divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament gives an account of the Israelites who are God’s chosen people. It is filled with myths, stories of love and animosity, harmony and conflict, infidelity, killing, conquest and defeat. It also contains stories of Prophets, messengers of God, who came to the people of how God expected them to act, but more significantly it forecast the coming of a Messiah who would be a liberator to the people. The New Testament is the story of the growth of Christianity, and the coming of the long anticipated Messiah. This covers the time shortly before the birth of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. The New Testament is about the life of Jesus and the lessons he taught during his time on earth. It recounts his death, resurrection, and ascent into heaven. The remainder of the New Testament tells how his followers dealt with his absence, how they continued on his works and spread his message. Region 2 The New Testament starts with four books called Gospels, which means “Good News”. They are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Although all four gospels tell the events of Jesus’ life, the Gospel according to Mark is exceptional between the four. It is the shortest of all four gospels. It is believed to be the first written,......

Words: 3181 - Pages: 13

Free Essay

The Greatest Failure

...The Greatest Failure Makes the Sweetest Success For many years now, there has been an on- going argument in regards to whether competitive sports benefit or harm public schools and communities. Many experts argue that competitive sports drive kids to perform better in school and in life. On the other hand, other experts worry that adults push kids too hard at such a young age and cause lifelong emotional issues. Each side states valid points however, schools and communities that push children to perform their greatest have the correct outlook on the real world and preparing children for the future because competition never disappears in this world, and sports contain a controlled environment that can teach children vital lessons such as never to give up on your dreams or simply just to work harder for what you want most. Competition often pushed people to reach their full potential. Competition drives people to do their best and to achieve their goals in life before anyone else does. The pressure of competition contributes to the well being of people; it allows them to focus and to succeed in the challenges of everyday life. Competition drives this world and there is no better way to prepare our children for the pressures of life than through sports. School and communities should promote friendly competition because it produces children that understand character and discipline. Mark Trapp once said, “If children are never allowed to fail, they will never succeed” (Source......

Words: 876 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Greatest Invention

...Merriam-Webster Dictionary the definition of crucible is stated as, “A place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development.” (Websters Dictionary) This is an insanely accurate portrayal of what cities are, a melting pot of a wide variety of cultures, ethnicities, and businesses all working together to make one metropolitan area succeed and thrive. Each entity within a city whether it being a grocery store, restaurant, hospital, power plant, large businesses or small all provide services for one another in an attempt to help benefit their own city. These developments of different industries and firms is typically known as urbanized economies. Geoffrey West continually references how the specific number of population can help determine the wealth, crime rate, and health of a city. Often times he also refers back to linear graphs that display a wide variety of relationships from gas stations and population, to crime rates and population. In doing so he shows a three fourths upward slope within these graphs that represents progress, wealth distribution, or in other cases success for corporations. The natural progression of these linear lines is that eventually there will be a tail-off back towards the bottom, which represents eventual death, or failure. If this is to be true then Geoffrey West points out that all corporations are meant to die. This means Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and many other fortune 500 companies all have a......

Words: 1675 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Greatest Generation

...Tom Brokaw believes that the World War Two generation, is the greatest genertion. In his book, he tells stories of magnificant bravery and determination this generation had, and the times of incredble hardships that this generation had to endure. This genertation was full of men and women willing to go above and beyond in order to serve their country in any way, shape or form they could, and their civil doings didnt stop their. They were people with great character willing to do anything needed to help others, and their country. Thomas Broderick was a premed student when the war started. He joined the Marines, where he had a private room, ate great food, and got a great pay. But alas, that wasnt enough service for Tom. he decided to quit and join the Airborne, which was one of the deadliest branches of the military. After Airborne training, his cptain offered him a sargent job, but he refused because he wanted to fight overseas. Only when he was fighting overseas he was shot in the tmple and he went blind . He returned home to his wife, where he started a insurance business and a family. he didnt let his blindness control his life. He was determined to succeed. From the beggining he wasnt the man to take the easy way out, he even wouldnt let his wife get handicap plates and refused to be handicapped. He did everything that a normal father and businessman would do. (p. 17-23) Many of the soldiers in the war dropped out of high school in order to fight for their country.......

Words: 1134 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Greatest Salesman in the World

...“The Greatest Salesman in the world” By: Og Mandino Jeza O. Tuazon 3BSBA Mr. Chua “The greatest salesman in the world” By: og mandino The greatest salesman is a story about a man who has all the wealthyness in life, he has a good character an excellent to serve to anyone whose ambition is success in his taken field. Hafid is the main character. A businessman in nature made him even more wealthy and well-known in his field. As a man of character never he had eager unappreciative to his servant, an icon of good conduct not just towards his business but also among his business people. Erasmus is Hafid servant had been following him all his commands. A day come he ordered Erasmus to sell his property and convert it into gold and kept it in secret with his servant and imparted with his wife. Hafid had left in a warm room, there found the only object the old chest, hafid had unlocked it and found the golden secrets, the ultimate secrets of all the happiness, success, love and peace of mind that all could ever want. He sued to himself that the wise man who entrusted these scrolls to his care can never be paid. The following are contents of the old chest scrolls from 1-10. The 1st scrolls is to teaches the character hafid and the reader to be a slave of good habit, citing experiences is compared fashion meaning it is only useful for today and be useless tomorrow. Instead of investing materials you must invest in a good character. The 2nd one scrolls is to...

Words: 683 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Gatsby's Greatest

...Spencer Smith Mrs. Moore American Literature November 6, 2014 Gatsby’s Greatest The life in the 1920’s isn’t always how people would think it would be. Wealthy people lived everyday of their life without care. They partied every weekend, got drunk, and just lived a reckless lifestyle. The way these people lived is depicted in the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald takes the life of Nick Caraway, a single stock broker living in New York and shows us the world of the rich through his point of view. Through his point of view he uses a lot of different styles of satire to describe these people. Satire uses humor, irony, exaggeration, tone, and sarcasm to criticize other people’s actions and lighten the situation. The Great Gatsby uses many elements of satire to tell the story. Some of the main elements used are irony, sarcasm, and humor. Fitzgerald uses irony to convey the idea that things aren’t always the way they seem. The Great Gatsby has a lot of different uses of dramatic irony. For instance the day that Gatsby, Tom, Nick, and Daisy all went into town, they got into an accident and killed Tom’s mistress, Myrtle. “’Wreck!’ Said Tom. ‘That’s good. Wilson’ll have a little business at last’” (Fitzgerald 137). This shows dramatic irony because Tom does not yet know that his mistress, Myrtle, was killed in the accident. It was until Tom pushed his way through the crowd of people that he sees that it was Myrtle who got hit and killed. Also Tom does......

Words: 1213 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Greatest

...without good reason. If we help out the charity more, more people could be feeling good about themselves. The community would be a lot safer and our families would be bonded together as a true family that has no problems. Overall, if everyone can help out, we can create a better place for everyone in the world. Did this experience help you to feel more of a responsibility to contribute to the community as an active citizen? Why or why not? Definitely because everyone should have the same rights as each other. No one should be treated differently. If I stood around all day at home doing nothing I wouldn't be helping the world become better for the future. To become an active citizen, you are not only helping the people in this era, but people in the future would have better lives and not experience a disaster situation like us. So what now- what will you continue to do to help your charity? As a student who needs to graduate from high school and go to University or college I must finish my 40 hours of volunteer work. I have nearly finished but it never hurts to do more. The more you do, the more people will respect you as an active citizen. I also have extra money that I could donate to my charity as they need it more than I do. There is no point saving the earth if you can't save the people. If our people are gone, the earth would just be a meaningless place. To help this charity will continue to create a better environment for those in need. What was your greatest......

Words: 674 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

George Washington's Greatest Challenges

...George Washington's Greatest Challenges George Washington's Greatest Challenges Good Morning, Everyone. My name is Jeremy Beltran, and today I will be talking about George Washington. At the time of the American Rebellion Washington was a great leader of the continental army. Following his role as a leader he was elected as the first president of the United States of America. Yet, he had two issues that became his greatest challenges; the military and government development. One of the issues Washington faced was with stock for the military forces. There was an old saying. "amateurs study tactics while professional warriors study logistics." (Facts about Washington, n.d., Para#6) Not being able to provide the army with all the required material effected combat efficiency. As an active duty member myself receiving required materials is what I would expect the government to focus on. As well as it being conducted effectively. "George Washington urged congress and the thirteen states to replenish the desperate need for the following items: shoes, shirts, blankets, and gunpowder." (Facts about Washington, n.d., Para#6) Yet it became difficult for him to get these resources due to the selfishness of the thirteen states. It seems George Washington was adamant about the military, and if he wasn't so strong willed it may have consumed him. During the Valley Forge winter military camp of 1777-1778 it became very difficult to get supplies to them. "Rather than snow and cold......

Words: 641 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Greatest Influence

...My Older “Brother” Throughout life we meet thousands of people, and every one is different. Each person has his or her own personality, likes and dislikes, and views and values. People can relate to each other in so many ways: similar tastes in music, movies, books, or by having similar interests or hobbies, like participating in or watching certain sports. Through these similarities people are able to bond and can even create friendships. The tiniest conversation starter, such as how good the Yankees are at baseball, can form a strong friendship between friends. Some friends come and go, but others never leave your side, and influence your life in such a positive manner, and you begin to realize that you have made a friend for life. In my case, a skateboard helped change my life for the better. I grew up in Montclair, New Jersey, a relatively safe town where a pre-teen could walk or bike around town during the day and not encounter any problems. There was always somewhere to go or something to do, so I took advantage of that, especially during my summer vacations. The summer between 6th and 7th grade was definitely one I will never forget. It was a hot day in July when I was roaming the streets with an old friend of mine, Kris, when we ran into some kids we knew from our school. With these friends of ours was someone who I had never met. He was holding a skateboard in his hands, and skating had always been something I wanted to try, so I approached him and introduced......

Words: 1017 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Greatest Technological Advancement

...use as a calculator, and just about anything else you can imagine. These are just a small number of things you can do with a device that you can fit in your pocket. That is very impressive. The first mobile phone went on sale in 1983, and for all intents and purposes the first smartphone was released in 2007 (the iPhone). Since 2007, the usage of smartphones has been increasing astronomically. According to a study from the PEW Research center “as of 2014, 90% of American adults have cell phones”. Of those 90%, 64% own smartphones. These numbers will only increase and make landlines a thing of the past (more so than they already are). In the same study we learn that 10-15% of smartphone owners do not have internet access other than their smartphone. A whopping 46% of users stated that their smartphone is something they “couldn’t live without”. There is even a phobia for that; Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. Is the smartphone the greatest invention of all time? No, it’s not even the most beneficial. There are far more technological advances within the medical field that have helped mankind more than smartphones. However, smartphones have impacted a wider range of people throughout the United States. Not everyone will have use for some new medical technology breakthrough, but just about everyone can benefit from using a smartphone and as the numbers show, they are doing just that. Smartphones are used by all age, social, economic, and......

Words: 450 - Pages: 2

Chrome Housing Headlight Amber Corner Signal Reflector for 03-07 Honda Accord | change language | Light as a Feather HDTV 720p AC3 5.1