Utilitarianism: Economic Inequality

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Deriving from the Latin term utilitas, which means usefulness, utility, advantage, or profit, Utilitarianism is a philosophical theory in normative ethics. It argues that in light of the impossibility of objectively defining Good and Evil, one ought to behave and act based on the resulting well-being, which defines the rightness or wrongness of an action. It thus dismissing the concept of duty as the determinant of morality, the quality of an action being determined by its consequences. Whatever has utility, which is instrumental for happiness, is right to do, and the best action is therefore one that maximises utility. Throughout the past two centuries, this utilitarian principle has been influential in politics and economics. Utility is considered…show more content…
As new concerns and strategic stakes have replaced old ones while values of shifted over time, utilitarianism as found itself potential applications in various realms of the contemporary world. Thus, this paper will address utilitarian philosophy in response to some of the most recurrent topics in conversations today, namely the rising environmental challenge, the inequality issue, the renewed expectation from public policies, as well as the reasons behind the stagnant spread of democratic…show more content…
Indeed, in most situations, utilitarianism would encourage an individual to partly violate other’s well-being to increase his or her own happiness. For example, utilitarianism applied to the individual would accept students walking on the grass to attend a lecture in time, even if it could damage the grass. Utilitarianism would also approve of torturing a terrorist’s innocent family member if it can make the terrorist give away information that could save many other innocents. To avoid these problems, utilitarians have put forward another model of governing and justice, one based on rule utilitarianism. Rule utilitarianism asserts that utilitarian criteria should be applied not to individual decisions to assess whether or not they are right, but to the laws that guide these individual actions. The right act to do is thus the act that abides by an ideal code set to maximise the global happiness of the people. But what is this ideal code and who establishes it? Because the people are infallible judges of their own interests, the legislator should not base the laws he creates on the preferences of individuals, who hold mistaken perceptions that lack foresight. Hence, according to rule utilitarianism, it is the legislator’s duty to use his knowledge of human nature to design laws that will maximise the

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