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Utilitarianism, Universal Ethics, Golden Rule, and Virtue Ethics

Golden Rule The Golden Rule is a prominent rule which states that “Do unto others as you would have others to do unto you” which has been applied and referenced in the business literature (Mattingly, 2012). The golden rule requires that we should only do good to others because we expect them to do good to us. Therefore, we should not take advantage of someone or lie in the workplace to get ahead because we don’t expect others to do that to us. We should treat people in a fair and honest manner because we want to be treated the same way also. The Golden Rule purports that each and every person has value and worth. As such, the person on the receiving end of an action is worthy of justice as you are. When you put yourself in the shoes of the other, it implies that he or she has the same level of dignity, sense of fairness and humanity as you want. To apply the Golden Rule, it is important that you imagine yourself in the exact place of another person who you are doing something to. It necessitates that you pause briefly and imagine yourself accurately and vividly in the other person’s position.

Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism, just like any other forms of consequentialism, is based on the notion that actions are morally right or wrong depending on their effects. To be specific, the only outcomes of actions that are relevant are the good or bad outcome that they produce. According to Hayry, (2013), the goal of morality is to make life better by escalating the number of good things, for instance, happiness and pleasure in the society and reducing the number of bad things such as unhappiness and pain. Utilitarianism is against moral codes or systems that encompasses of commands or taboos that are founded on the notions of power, traditions, customs or other orders administered by leaders or other supreme beings. Instead, utilitarian’s believe on the notion that moral actions are held true or justifiable based on its positive contribution to human and even non-human beings (Vaughn, 2015).

 


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Universal Ethics

Universal ethics are accepted principles. These principles require that what we do should be what is acceptable to all people regardless of religion, gender, race, and other social differences. According to Melé & Sánchez-Runde (2013), Universal ethics can be perceived as a form of moral constitution which is expressed as a set of specific ethical principles that can be applied to each and every individual being, out of the set standards or ‘constitution,’ all other secular groups or religions can come up with or maintain their additional principles that are considered ethical. Examples of such ethical standards which are considered to be self-evident and apply to all individuals regardless of social, political, religion or cultural context include non-aggression principles that limit aggression or using force or violence against other people (Melé & Sánchez-Runde, 2013). Such aggressions include; rape, kidnapping, murder, robbery, and theft among others.


The Issue

In our case, despite the fact that telling his brother Owen about ABC company plans about building an adult entertainment retail store could be a breach of confidentiality to the company, morality, and universal ethics might require that Luke should tell his brother to aid in his decision whether to sell or retain the house. Therefore, the ethical issue is that Luke is also obliged not to disclose his company plans to third parties. However, Luke has the moral duty to help his brother make a better decision to make life better and promote good things. Therefore, an ethical dilemma that arises is whether or not Luke should tell his brother about his company plans and how it may affect the real estate market. By doing so, Owen will be in a position to make a better decision of selling his house now at the current good real estate price and avoid selling the product at a low price in the future.

Analysis

Different ethical lenses provide different guidance on how to make the best decision when confronted with an ethical situation. Utilitarianism requires that good moral actions promote good things in society and reduce the number of bad things (Vaughn, 2015). This implies that Luke should make a decision that will promote good in the society by ensuring that Owen gets the best deal when selling his property. On the same note, the Golden Rule requires that we should do to others what we expect others to do for us. To apply the Golden Rule, it is important that you imagine yourself in the exact place of another person who you are doing something to. It necessitates that you pause briefly and imagine yourself accurately and vividly in the other person’s position. As such, Luke should put himself on his brother Owen shoes and imagine vividly on what Owen would have done in his position. The decision he makes should be what he expects his brother to do to him if he was in his position.
In tandem with the Golden Rule, virtue ethics requires that one should reason and make choices based on honesty. That is, one should always act with good intention by doing the right thing (Carroll, & Buchholtz, 2014). Therefore, Virtue ethics necessitate that Luke should act in good faith and that his decision should only be influenced by good intention and doing what is right in the society. Among the morally relevant actions of a situation may be likely the consequences in virtue ethics. If Luke does not tell his brother Owen about the ABC Company plans, then Owen might not sell his house now at the good current price. Therefore, he might end up selling the house at a lower price in future. Practical wisdom requires that Luke accepts all the range of considerations wholeheartedly as reasons for actions.
In view of universal ethics which are generally accepted principles, we should be what is acceptable to all people regardless of religion, gender, race, and other social differences. Luke has the moral duty to do what is best for his brother Owen by informing him despite the consequences of breaching their company’s confidentiality. From the different ethical views, it is evident that the decision that Luke will make should be the best for all parties. That is, for him, his brother and the ABC Company where he works.

Recommendation

The different ethical ideologies discussed above shows that Luke should make a decision that will bring forth common good. Therefore, Luke should weight the outcome of telling his brother Owen about their company plan to acquire and built an adult entertainment center in their neighborhood. Luke is obliged to keep confidentiality about their company dealings. However, moral duty requires that Luke should assist his brother to get the best deal when selling the house. Therefore, Luke should inform his brother Owen that the property values for the surrounding neighborhood where Owen house is located will decrease in future because their company is planning to build an adult entertainment retail store.
As such, Luke should advise his brother to sell the house now at the “okay” price given the current real estate market because the prices might drop in future. Should Owen ask why the prices will drop in future, then Luke should not have a choice but to tell his brother that their company is planning to build an adult entertainment retail store and that once the plan is made public, the property values for the surrounding neighborhood will drop significantly.
References
Hoffman, W. M., Frederick, R. E., & Schwartz, M. S. (Eds.). (2014).Business ethics: Readings and cases in corporate morality. John Wiley & Sons.
Carroll, A. B., & Buchholtz, A. K. (2014). Business and society: Ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management. Nelson Education.
Mattingly, C. (2012). Two virtue ethics and the anthropology of morality.Anthropological Theory, 12(2), 161-184.
Hayry, M. (2013). Liberal utilitarianism and applied ethics. Routledge.
Vaughn, L. (2015). Doing ethics: Moral reasoning and contemporary issues. WW Norton & Company.
Melé, D., & Sánchez-Runde, C. (2013). Cultural diversity and universal ethics in a global world. Journal of Business Ethics, 116(4), 681-687.

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