Ford Pinto Utilitarianism

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Does Utilitarianism Always Apply? Most people will agree they easily know right from wrong, but can they explain what makes the right choice right and the wrong choice wrong? Moral theory has been discussed over many generations, and during this time individuals have produced unique mechanisms to describe the defining factors of right and wrong. These mechanisms are created to work in any situation, although there will always be those who critique these ideas. Critics do not believe that certain mechanisms work in every situation. One particularly debatable situation is the Ford Pinto case. Utilitarianism is a specific concept that declares why the decisions made in this case were morally correct, but Michael J. Sandel, the author of Justice:…show more content…
The 1960s era was life-changing in the United States because of a form of improved transportation: cars. Every family wanted an automobile to improve their quality of life, but since they were fairly new, cars were unaffordable to most. Ford Motor Company realized this issue and also took notice that their foreign competitors in Japan and Germany were already making affordable, compact cars that boosted them extremely ahead of U.S. sales. So, in 1968 The Ford Motor company trademarked the Ford Pinto, a vehicle that met all of the competitors’s standards. There was only one problem, the subcompact failed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration test for rear-end impacts of 20 mph. The gas tanks, when ruptured by an impact, immediately burst into flames. Ford realized the Pinto was a threat to drivers and had to make a moral decision on whether to immediately put the product into the market in hopes of moving ahead of their foreign competitors, or to spend a few more years modifying the design, which would eliminate the serious fire hazard. Ford chose to sell their product as it was by relying on a popular moral theory, utilitarianism (Shaw…show more content…
First, the cost-benefit mechanism is simply immoral. I feel the employees in the Ford Pinto case would have to be heartless to agree that murdering people is a better option than making less money. I can not imagine that this choice realistically felt good to their consciences. Ford reported the Pinto caused 23 deaths, while others stated the model killed 500 (Shaw 84). Even if they calculated that more monetary happiness would be brought into the world, does that really triumph over the thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of lives affected by the deaths of Pinto-owners? I believe it does not. Moreover, no one should have the power to judge whether someone’s life is less or more of a value to that person, except that person. I do not agree with humans playing God. Cost-benefit analysis disregards a whole side of morality. Secondly, in his novel Sandel pushes that human life is immeasurable. I agree with this statement because it is not possible to know the amount of joy a person could potentially have in his or her life. In one scenario a person may been a philanthropist who put produced a non-profit that put billions of dollars into helping the disabled, while someone else who was killed was a pessimist who hated his life and had never aided to the another’s happiness. The monetary value could be

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