Consider these three problems. In writing a paper about all three of them individually, identify the consequences of the actions taken, and then determine whether the actions taken represented a greater good, who would benefit from the good, and whether the consequences ethically justify the decisions and actions.
Problem 1: The Mayor of a large city was given a free membership in an exclusive golf club by people who have received several city contracts. He also accepted gifts from organizations that have not done business with the City but might in the future. The gifts ranged from $200 tickets to professional sports events to designer watches and jewelry.
Problem 2: A college instructor is pursuing her doctorate in night school. To gain extra time for her own studies, she gives her students the same lectures, the same assignments, and the same examinations semester after semester without the slightest effort to improve them.
Problem 3: Todd and Edna have been married for three years. They have had serious personal problems. Edna is a heavy drinker, and Todd cannot keep a job. Also, they have bickered and fought constantly since their marriage. Deciding that the way to overcome their problems is to have a child, they stop practicing birth control, and Edna becomes pregnant.
Using what you have learned from our discussions and readings up to this week, write an answer to all three parts.
Ethics involves the action of making decisions from several possible choices. The mayor decided to accept the gifts out of a free will. The consequences likely to accrue is that these gifts could be intended to be materialistic bribes by the people giving them. In the past, we have seen politicians take funding from corporations when campaigning, and after they are in office, the corporations ask for favors in return. This restricts more qualified corporations from getting contracts that they deserve since the process of awarding them becomes flawed.
The mayor’s actions do not represent a greater good. He is the only person benefiting from these gifts, and there is no way the people he is serving will gain. Actually, the people would end up [cmppp_restricted] suffering if the negative consequences were to accrue. This is because the mayor would end up appeasing the people offering the gifts at the expense of the more deserving people.
Based on Locke’s perspectives, he would address the issue by ascertaining that the actions of the mayor were unethical. This is because given that the mayor is in a public office, he should have a high standard of moral judgment. By accepting the gifts, the mayor did not show elements of moral judgment. When corporations that have a probability of operating in your area in future give you gifts, you ought to see a red flag in such a scenario. These might be people that might need something in return when the right time comes. I would concur with Locke on this case since he believed that the standard of moral justice is usually established by a sense of pleasure (Seagrave, 2014).
I do not think that the instructor’s actions constitute something unethical. Given her situation, she needs to balance various aspects of her life. Furthermore, it takes time before lecturers change the assignments and examinations that they give their students depending on the courses involved. If for example, an instructor is teaching a history class, nothing changes about history. However, there would be the consequences of students using assignments and examinations from those that came before them to ensure that they do well. The students may also find it easy to copy from each other.
The instructor’s actions represented a greater good since she is trying to make her life better by pursuing a doctorate. Giving the same examinations and assignments does not work to imply that she is lazy. It is just that she is constrained of time, and needs to have a balance on all the things going around her. The knowledge and the papers gained in the process will help her benefit more students in the future. Therefore, the greater good involved seems to outweigh the likely consequences.
I think John Locke would have approved the instructor’s actions. Locke asserted that the inevitable pursuit of pleasure and happiness results in cooperation when it is conducted rationally (Seagrave, 2014). This is because everyone wants to be happy and derive pleasure from what they are involved with at all times. Moderation needs to be exercised though, to prevent selfishness from creeping in. That is why, in this case, immediate pleasures ought to give way to sensible regard for the ultimate good.
Todd and Edna’s decision to get pregnant given their current situation is not ethical. Among the consequences likely to accrue as a result of this decision is financial struggles. At some point, Edna will have to stop working as a result of the pregnancy. This would mean that her finances would be strained to some extent. This is a bad thing given that Todd has a problem when it comes to keeping a job. Their financials deteriorating at this point would be even worse since they will have someone else in their life that they need to take care off. The strain in finances would result in them fighting even more than they used to do before.
The actions taken by both does not present a greater good. There is no assurance that the baby being born will bring peace in the marriage. The situation might deteriorate, meaning the child will be subjected to a toxic environment. This is something that might work out in a negative way for the child even when she/ he grows. Increased tension in marriage might also result in divorce, and the child will end up being brought up by a single parent; something that was not in the equation when he/she was being conceived.
I think John Locke would have asked Todd and Edna to think really hard on whether the child would help solve their marital issues. This is because Locke believes that the ethics of social contract require that decisions being made ought to support the safety and stability of the commonwealth to help benefit the interests of all people (Seagrave, 2014). I do not think that bringing the child in their current situation would show the best interest that they have towards the child.
Ruggiero, V. R. (2012). Thinking critically about ethical issues (8th ed.). New York: Mc-Graw Hill.
Seagrave, S. (2014). The foundations of natural morality: On the Compatibility of Natural Rights and the Natural Law. University of Chicago Press. [/cmppp_restricted]