As per request of the first assignment of this course, I watched the movie “A Civil Action” starring John Travolta (Jan Schlichtmann), as a plaintiff’s lawyer and Robert Duvall (Jerome Facher) and Bruce Norris (William Cheeseman) as the defendant’s lawyers of W.R. Grace and J Riley Leather companies. The movie depicted the court case fought in the 1980’s among the previously mentioned companies and the residents of Woburn a little town located in Massachusetts. After watching the movie, an analysis using the ethical tools reflected in the chapter 1 of the course textbook will be used to portray the ethical issues of the movie.
Free Market Ethics or Social Responsibility (Milton Friedman)
“There is only one and only one social responsibility of business- to use its resources and engage in activities designated to increase its profits so long as it decides to stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”
According with the textbook and other internet sources, Milton Friedman described in his thesis that the main goal of a business is to generate gains or profits. As a result, several business have been using such thesis as a justification for some of the decisions they made. In the case of “A Civil Action” we had the two companies contaminating the little town water with chemicals used during the elaboration of their products. The use of trichloroethylene was apparently causing some of the children of the place to developed respiratory and other cancerous diseases such as leukemia. After the death of several children, people on town began to worry about the situation and everything pointed out ...
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...d, thus being moral is a matter of following God rules. In the case of the disposal, withholding information in order to preserve their profits and minimizing their costs was lying, which was a violation of the rights of the people living on the community. The companies benefited from the people living at Woburn not only by using them to produce their goods, but also to hide the evidence of their illicit acts, clearly violating the Kantianism principles of telling the true and taking advantages of others. In the case of the plaintiff’s lawyer was also observable that money mattered more than the truth this was exemplified by Jan words: “the whole idea of a law suit is to settle or compel the other side to settle. You do that by spending more money than you should obligating them to spend more money than they should……” fact that also violated the deontology approach.
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