Business Ethics: Cost-Benefits Analysis Essay

Business Ethics: Cost-Benefits Analysis Essay

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An 'economic cost-benefit analysis' approach to reasoning sees actions favoured and chosen if the benefit outweighs the cost. Here, the benefits and costs are in the form of economic benefits and costs, such as, monetary loss or profit. One who is motivated by such an approach will deem a course of action preferable if doing so results in an economic profit. Conversely, actions will be avoided if they result in an economic loss (Kelman 1981).

Importantly, when thinking about the cost-benefit approach, it should be borne in mind that its proponents are not strictly motivated to act ethically, unless the cost of not doing so is sufficiently high, or if acting ethically will result in economic profit. For example, a industrial company may know that dumping chemical waste into a nearby river is harmful to the environment, and by extension, human and non-human animals, although still decide to dispose of their waste in such a manner, as it is economically cheaper to do so, than to dispose of the waste in a safe but more costly manner. In coming to such a decision, they may have also weighed the potential fines and loss of business if they are exposed, although determined that such costs are not sufficiently high compared to the economic savings of cheaper, inappropriate dumping, so will maintain the current method of disposal.

A utilitarian approach to moral reasoning is also one where different options are weighed, although utilitarians are interested in minimising harm and maximising benefit. Importantly, utilitarians hold a universal perspective when reasoning, where they consider the impact upon all those who may be affected, who have interests of their own (Grace & Cohen 2013: 14-15).

Importantly for Kant, morality must come ...


... middle of paper ...


...idual who does not take the risk to their own life in service to others, but nonetheless, we would consider an individual that does take such a risk, or even die during the act of attempting to save others, highly moral.




Works Cited

Chomsky, N. (2013). Can Civilization Survive Capitalism. As retrieved from RSN: http://readersupportednews. org/opinion2/279-82/16453-focus-can-civilizationsurvive- capitalism.

Evan, W. M., & Freeman, R. E. (1988). A stakeholder theory of the modern corporation: Kantian Capitalism. London: Chapman and Hall.

Friedman, M. (1970). The Social Responsibility of Business is to make Profit. New York Times Magazine, 13.

Grace, D., & Cohen, S. (2013). Business Ethics. Melbourne: Oxford.

Kelman, S. (1981). Cost-benefit analysis: an ethical critique. Regulation, 5, 33.

Sorell, T., & Hendry, J. (1994). Business ethics. Oxford: Oxford.

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