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Cost and Benefit Approach in Ethics: A Utilitarian View By: Haidir Aulia Reizaputra Cost and...
Cost and Benefit Approach in Ethics: A Utilitarian View
By: Haidir Aulia Reizaputra
The Utilitarian Approach to Ethics
Developed by Manuel Velasquez, Claire Andre, Thomas Shanks, S.J., and Michael J. MeyerImagine that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency gets wind of a plot to set off a dirty bomb in a major American city. Agents capture a suspect who, they believe, has information about where the bomb is planted. Is it permissible for them to torture the suspect into revealing the bomb's whereabouts? Can the dignity of one individual be violated in order to save many others?
Greatest Balance of Goods Over Harms
If you answered yes, you were probably using a form of moral reasoning called "utilitarianism." Stripped down to its essentials, utilitarianism is a moral principle that holds that the morally right course of action in any situation is the one that produces the greatest balance of benefits over harms for everyone affected. So long as a course of action produces maximum benefits for everyone, utilitarianism does not care whether the benefits are produced by lies, manipulation, or coercion.
Many of us use this type of moral reasoning frequently in our daily decisions. When asked to explain why we feel we have a moral duty to perform some action, we often point to the good that will come from the action or the harm it will prevent. Business analysts, legislators, and scientists weigh daily the resulting benefits and harms of policies when deciding, for example, whether to invest resources in a certain public project, whether to approve a new drug, or whether to ban a certain pesticide.
Utilitarianism offers a relatively straightforward method for deciding the morally right course of action for any particular situation we may find ourselves in. To discover what we ought to do in any situation, we first identify the various courses of action that we could perform. Second, we determine all of the foreseeable benefits and harms that would result from each course of action for everyone affected by the action. And third, we choose the course of action that provides the greatest benefits after the costs have been taken into account.
The principle of utilitarianism can be traced to the writings of Jeremy Bentham, who lived in England during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Bentham, a legal reformer, sought an objective basis that would provide a publicly acceptable norm for determining what kinds of laws England should enact. He believed that the most promising way of reaching such an agreement was to choose that policy that would bring about the greatest net benefits to society once the harms had been taken into account. His motto, a familiar one now, was "the greatest good for the greatest number."
Over the years, the principle of utilitarianism has been expanded and refined so that today there are many variations of the principle. For example, Bentham defined benefits and harms in terms of pleasure and pain. John Stuart Mill, a great 19th century utilitarian figure, spoke of benefits and harms not in terms of pleasure and pain alone but in terms of the quality or intensity of such pleasure and pain. Today utilitarians often describe benefits and harms in terms of the satisfaction of personal preferences or in purely economic terms of monetary benefits over monetary costs.
Utilitarians also differ in their views about the kind of question we ought to ask ourselves when making an ethical decision. Some utilitarians maintain that in making an ethical decision, we must ask ourselves: "What effect will my doing this act in this situation have on the general balance of good over evil?" If lying would produce the best consequences in a particular situation, we ought to lie. Others, known as rule utilitarians, claim that we must choose that act that conforms to the general rule that would have the best consequences. In other words, we must ask ourselves: "What effect would everyone's doing this kind of action have on the general balance of good over evil?" So, for example, the rule "to always tell the truth" in general promotes the good of everyone and therefore should always be followed, even if in a certain situation lying would produce the best consequences. Despite such differences among utilitarians, however, most hold to the general principle that morality must depend on balancing the beneficial and harmful consequences of our conduct.
Problems With Utilitarianism
While utilitarianism is currently a very popular ethical theory, there are some difficulties in relying on it as a sole method for moral decision-making. First, the utilitarian calculation requires that we assign values to the benefits and harms resulting from our actions and compare them with the benefits and harms that might result from other actions. But it's often difficult, if not impossible, to measure and compare the values of certain benefits and costs. How do we go about assigning a value to life or to art? And how do we go about comparing the value of money with, for example, the value of life, the value of time, or the value of human dignity? Moreover, can we ever be really certain about all of the consequences of our actions? Our ability to measure and to predict the benefits and harms resulting from a course of action or a moral rule is dubious, to say the least.
Perhaps the greatest difficulty with utilitarianism is that it fails to take into account considerations of justice. We can imagine instances where a certain course of action would produce great benefits for society, but they would be clearly unjust. During the apartheid regime in South Africa in the last century, South African whites, for example, sometimes claimed that all South Africans—including blacks—were better off under white rule. These whites claimed that in those African nations that have traded a whites-only government for a black or mixed one, social conditions have rapidly deteriorated. Civil wars, economic decline, famine, and unrest, they predicted, will be the result of allowing the black majority of South Africa to run the government. If such a prediction were true—and the end of apartheid has shown that the prediction was false—then the white government of South Africa would have been morally justified by utilitarianism, in spite of its injustice.
If our moral decisions are to take into account considerations of justice, then apparently utilitarianism cannot be the sole principle guiding our decisions. It can, however, play a role in these decisions. The principle of utilitarianism invites us to consider the immediate and the less immediate consequences of our actions. Given its insistence on summing the benefits and harms of all people, utilitarianism asks us to look beyond self-interest to consider impartially the interests of all persons affected by our actions. As John Stuart Mill once wrote:
The happiness which forms the utilitarian standard of what is right in conduct, is not...(one's) own happiness, but that of all concerned. As between his own happiness and that of others, utilitarianism requires him to be as strictly impartial as a disinterested and benevolent spectator.
In an era today that some have characterized as "the age of self-interest," utilitarianism is a powerful reminder that morality calls us to look beyond the self to the good of all.
The views expressed do not necessarily represent the position of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. We welcome your comments, suggestions, or alternative points of view.
This article appeared originally in Issues in Ethics V2 N1 (Winter 1989)
- See more at: http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/decision/calculating.html#sthash.Doe6dwqC.dpuf
Cambodia Economy Outlook By: Haidir Aulia English: Entrance of Siem Reap International Airport and Overseas Terminal (Photo credit:...
Cambodia Economy Outlook
By: Haidir Aulia
|English: Entrance of Siem Reap International Airport and Overseas Terminal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Cambodia Toward a Healthy Outlook In 2014
|Location map of Cambodia with Siem Reap Province highlighted Equirectangular projection, N/S stretching 105 %. Geographic limits of the map: * N: 14.8° N * S: 9.9° N * W: 102.2° E * E: 107.9° E (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Fiscal reforms are another concern. The government has made a start by trying to widen the tax base. However, it needs to do more. It should aim for a nascent government bond market in the medium term; issuing treasury securities instead of drawing down deposits at the NBC could be a first step. It also needs to innovate to bring people and businesses into the formal economy, both to widen fiscal oversight and to diversify the economy. The government’s recent effort to enable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to register online is encouraging. Policymakers need to develop the SME sector, given its role in job creation and economic growth. A recent economic census revealed that 97.7 percent of the nearly 500,000 enterprises surveyed were micro enterprises; the share of SMEs was a puny 2.1 percent. This needs to change. To do so, authorities also need to improve education and technology, possibly in collaboration with international partners. Currently, in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness indices, Cambodia ranks a poor 116 among 148 countries in higher education and training; its rank in technological readiness (97) is not impressive either.
Cambodia Biggest Challenge
International Export-Import Process and Tips Through Sourcing Perspective Adapted from International Sourcing Course by Bigey Laurent ...
International Export-Import Process and Tips Through Sourcing Perspective
The next step is how we develop inquiry packages and develop delivered price of the product. First of all we must gone through request for quotation (RFQ), standard business process to invite suppliers into bidding process to bid on specific products or services which involves price per-item, payment terms, quality level per item, contract length, volume, and sometimes allows different contractors to provide a quotation. The process usually take multiple rounds or even a reserve auction. Don't forget to take into consideration all referenced non-company document, cleaning and packaging, estimated annual quantity for each shipment, requested currency, and use ICC(International Chamber of Commerce) incoterms during the RFQ. ICC incoterms is important because it recognized as standard in worldwide and domestic contracts for the sale of goods. After we obtained the supplier quotations, format, and date of receipt, we must determine the freight and import cost. Here the tips is use the total package weight and sizes received from the suppliers and don't hesitate to use your subcontractor transport or custom broker to assist in determining the import duty and the other charges applicable so we could develop delivered prices based on many variables. Also always perform formal supplier evaluation on site by the one who know the product and in best position to evaluate the supplier based on quality, capacity, administration, and development.
The next step to do is to write and place purchasing order contract. For international order always include: Shipping and routing method, packing list should be sent separately from the shipment, harmonized system code for the broker or overseas sourcing representative, and payment method. Review again the standard terms and condition, clauses related to rejection, disputes, payments, governing law, etc. For payment method, the usual thing is to issue Banker's acceptance or letters of credit which is a written commitment by a bank to make payment on behalf of an importer under accepted condition. For order administration, it will be easier to do if you know the supplier production process and schedule, so the companies could check frequently for status with data about product step completion. For shipping instruction, it would be wise to not leave it up to the supplier in order to approach punctually to the time for shipment. When the payment time is done usually companies must manage the currency rates for payment. There are generally three strategy; put all the risk on supplier, companies take all the risk, and negotiate a shared risk position between seller and buyer. The method ought to be used other than banker acceptance is to hedge in financial market through option, forward contract, or swap.
In conclusion, when handling export prior to the shipment, it's better to have checklist about: currency status, certificate of origin, request for current status, detailed supplier transportation method, specify forwarder or broker, and sometimes we need to include an inspection certificate. Whilst after the shipment leaves the supplier, we should have check about: confirm that freight forwarder has freight and that booking was made, confirm shipment in on intended vessel flight, confirm custom clearance with broker and determine if pre clear through customs is possible. Lastly, always check documents received to insure correct consignee, notify party, destination, and confirm inland delivery with inland carrier. That's all good luck for your export - import process.
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International Sourcing A Global Perspective Based on the International Sourcing Course of Laurent Biggey by: Haidir Aulia Reizaputra ...
International Sourcing A Global Perspective
|English: Economies of scale surd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Cast aside any problem with some materials that can only obtained in regional or local sourcing, many people now also have tendency to realize the side effects of globalization in which it created immense cost pressure and not only it increase the supplier offer but also tighten the competition. Another fact is in matured market, companies product have tendency to face difficulties on revenues growth. Because of that we can denied the fact that the other way to increase shareholders value is cost reduction program by making the companies work more effective such as offering low product prices resulted from total cost reduction. To attain that condition some companies have directed their focus on low-cost country sourcing (LCCS). One of example is BMW plan to saving 6 billion euros over 5 years in 2007 which resulted on IPO creation in Budapest and indirectly also build a network of qualified suppliers in Eastern Europe. The low level of labor cost gives secondary implication to make the companies reduced their capital intensive to manual labor intensive which give the companies more flexible option to pursued their economies of scale i.e a phone whose design done in United States, components are sourced in China, and assembled in Thailand. Not only make the cost slightly lower, the search of LCCS also give opportunities to satisfied their local markets which characterized by rapid growth because increasing customer demand and sometimes turned the LCCS into important sales market as well.
Globalization also bring some problem to international trade in 20th century especially in sourcing on LCCS. The first wall to be taken is standardization process with wide offer and option available that will take times to simplified and adapt while keep preserving to quality standards. The second is high technology sourcing is a bit more risky regarding to the short product life cycle and intellectual property protection. Third is the common problem when sourcing services externally because the basic concept of services it self which is intangible, perishable, inseparable, and very sensitive to subjective assessment. The fourth problem is regarding to the delivery of goods itself and external risk such as currency risk, political instability, and corruption. Tough problem arise, sourcing must also entered several phase upon it's completion such as empowerment by doing pre-analysist and re-engineer the business process, Strategy planning and development, and evaluation by using key performances indicator or total quality management. On the execution of purchasing, companies could also consider various possibility such as direct purchase to supplier by importing the product, purchases by subsidiary or through distribution subsidiary in customer country, and purchase through third parties such as brokers, international purchasing offices or agents.
In conclusion, companies must be careful to step into international sourcing because international sourcing is crucial task that needed to be planned, organized, actuated, and controlled with great care. A company could also end-up in reversed situation of increased total cost instead of reducing it because missmanagement and incapability to overcome cultural barriers, increased distances, and external risk. What we must keep in mind, sourcing aimed as initiatives to identify suppliers which can deliver maximum amount of value in the goods or services at lowest possible cost while also preserved adequate quality problems.
Business Ethics Case Study: Heroin Justification Paradox of Triple P (Prudence, Prevention, Pre...
Business Ethics Case Study: Heroin Justification Paradox of Triple P
(Prudence, Prevention, Precautionary)
|Illegal Drug Addiction and Substance Abuse (Photo credit: epSos.de)|
The evils commonly blamed on heroin addiction are in reality the fault of the prohibition of drugs and not of the addiction itself. Given the prohibition of drugs, it is the person who sells drugs illegally who does more than anyone to mitigate the evil effects of the original prohibition.
Legalization of heroin has been rejected on the grounds that progress and civilization would come to a halt. The British and Chinese experience with addictive drugs are cited, and we are supposed to picture scores of people lying around in the street, zonked out of their minds. The argument is that anything which interferes with progress, such as the widespread use of heroin, should be prohibited. But there are other things that can interfere with continued progress which most people would not be willing to prohibit-leisure, for one. If employees took vacations which amounted to 90 percent of the working year, "progress" would certainly falter. Should long vacations be prohibited? Hardly. In addition, the present prohibition of heroin does not eliminate access to the drug. Formerly, it was available only in the inner city ghettos; today it can be purchased on affluent suburban street corners and schoolyards.
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Inca Empire and The Mistery of it Economics The Macchu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site ...
Inca Empire and The Mistery of it Economics
|The Macchu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Cusco in Peru, at twilight Français : Le Machu Picchu, site du Patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO près de Cuzco au Pérou, au coucher du soleil Türkçe: Dünya Mirasları Listesi'nde bulunan Peru'daki Macchu Picchu'nun alaca karanlıktaki görüntüsü. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Wealth Without Money
|Residential section of the Machu Picchu, Peru. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
With only a few exceptions found in coastal polities incorporated into the empire, there was no trading class in Inca society, and the development of individual wealth acquired through commerce was not possible . . . A few products deemed essential by the Incas could not be produced locally and had to be imported. In these cases several strategies were employed, such as establishing colonies in specific production zones for particular commodities and permitting long-distance trade. The production, distribution, and use of commodities were centrally controlled by the Inca government. Each citizen of the empire was issued the necessities of life out of the state storehouses, including food, tools, raw materials, and clothing, and needed to purchase nothing. With no shops or markets, there was no need for a standard currency or money, and there was nowhere to spend money or purchase or trade for necessities.
|Agriculture (Photo credit: thegreenpages)|
The scale of anthropological manipulation and transformation of the landscape in the south-central Andes appears to have increased after ca. AD 1100, probably in response to a climatic backdrop that was relatively warm, dry and essentially stable. The development of major irrigated terracing technology may have been increasingly necessary in these regions to obviate conditions of seasonal water stress, thereby allowing efﬁcient agricultural production at higher altitudes. The outcome of these strategies was greater long-term food security and the ability to feed large populations. Such developments were exploited by the Inca of the Cuzco Valley, who were emerging as the dominant ethnic group of the region as early as ca. AD 1200. A healthy agricultural surplus supported their economic and political potential, enabling them to subjugate other local independent states and to effectively centralize power in the Cuzco region by ca. AD 1400.