discussion paper

timer Asked: Dec 11th, 2018
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Question description

The discussion paper must be at least two-pages in length (double-spaced, 12-inch Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins). Two pages is not very much to write, if you simply spend some time reflecting on the questions and issues raised below. So, I do expect your paper to be at least this length. Do not write less than this amount, and do not use bigger margins or font, etc. You are certainly allowed to write more than two pages.
t discussion paper should be submitted through Canvas. No late papers will be accepted.
For the extra credit discussion paper, please respond to the following issue:
Consider Utilitarian and Dentological (Kantian) ethics in the context of business and the environment.
1) What kinds of ethical obligations regarding the environment would Utilitarianism prescribe for corporations? Why would it prescribe these obligations?
2) What kinds of ethical obligation regarding the environment would Deontology prescribe for corporations? Why would it prescribe these obligations?
When developing answers to these questions, you need to examine the reasoning process of Utilitaraian and Deontological ethics. Then apply these reasoning processes to the issue of business and the environment.

Business and the Environment Climate Change • The issue of global climate change faces many uncertainties. • However, there is now international consensus that it will result in surface temperature increase of 2 to 11.5 F° (1.1 to 6.4 C°) by the year 2100. • This will have a wide range of impacts on human activities, and will be catastrophic for many plants and animals. An Issue of Values • A crucial point: Anthropogenic climate change is NOT a purely scientific problem. • While science has alerted us to this problem, the problem also concerns values. • Climate change concerns questions about how we humans should live, and how we should relate to each other and the rest of nature. • In other words, anthropogenic climate change involves not just a problem of science, but also a problem of ethical (and political) values. • Humans have now attained a level of power that is unprecedented in human history: – We can alter the fundamental global conditions that permitted human life to evolve and continue to sustain it. • Even if we act now to stabilize global climate change, it will be too late for many, perhaps even most, of the plant and animal species that share our planet. • The future may be one without any wild nature. • We may live in a humanized world, which has just a few domestic plant & animals species that can survive or thrive on their relationship with us. Miami/South Florida • Only 8% of Miami-Dade county is greater than 10 feet above sea level. • Some parts of South Beach are a mere 1 foot above sea level. • U.S. government projections end in 2048, but predict 2 feet in sea level rise by that time. • This will result in the flooding of many homes & businesses. • In just 15 years, $14.7 billion worth of beach front property will be at risk of flooding. • And Miami stands to lose up to $3.5 trillion in assets by 2070. • Climate change will also cause an increase in the average intensity of tropical storms & hurricanes. • In 1992, Hurricane Andrew brought storm surges of up to 17 feet. • The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (ICPP) has called Miami the most “at risk” coastal city in the world. • A primary reason is because Miami is built on limestone. • This means you cannot build levees to hold back the water, because it will come up through the porous limestone. • http://www.eyesontherise.org/app/ Hampton Roads Area, Virginia • The Hampton Roads metro area—which includes Virginia Beach, Hampton, Norfolk, & Newport News—is the most at-risk area of Virginia when it comes to sea level rise. • Sea level rise poses major risks for the residents & economy of this area: – Receding shorelines will threaten oceanfront hotels, restaurants, & resorts. – Low-lying areas will be flooded more often, and some neighborhoods may be permanently submerged. – Storms could regularly submerge major military installations, such as the Norfolk Naval Base, which is less than 5 feet above sea level. – By 2100, as many as 38% of homes in Hampton will be at risk of “chronic inundation,” which is defined as flooding at least 26 times per year. – https://riskfinder.climatecentral.org/state/virginia.us?compariso nType=county&forecastType=NOAA2017_int_p50&level=5&unit =ft • The city of Norfolk has set a goal of capitalizing on climate change & sea level rise, by becoming a leading expert in water technology. • https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-06-27/howone-virginia-city-re-framing-sea-level-riseopportunity Background • There has been speculation about anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change since the late-1800’s. • In early discussions of the issue, some welcomed this change, because they thought it would increase agricultural production and delay the onset of the next ice age. • More recently, some have presented “doomsday scenarios,” involving widespread drought, floods, famine, and economic & political dislocations. • High-level meetings to discuss the greenhouse effect began in the 1960’s. • However, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that international consensus was reached about the extent of anthropogenic climate change. • In 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created to provide state-of-the art assessments of climate science. • According to the 2007 IPCC report, a doubling of the pre-industrial baseline atmospheric CO2 is expected to cause a 4.5 F° (2.5 C°) in the Earth’s average surface temperature. • (This baseline refers to the level of CO2 present in the atmosphere prior to the industrial revolution, before human activity began to significantly contribute to it.) • Currently, we are at about 1.4 times the pre-industrial baseline atmospheric CO2. • But there is no reason to believe that without policy intervention, we will stabilize atmospheric CO2 at even a doubling of the baseline. • Thus, we face the looming possibility of catastrophic climate change. • For example, if the Greenland ice sheet melts entirely, there would be 23 feet of sea level rise, which would put even London under water. Bowie • Bowie argues that: • 1) Business has a moral (and legal) obligation to obey all environmental laws. • 2) If a business has some special expertise that can mitigate environmental harms, then the business may have a moral obligation to do so. • 3) Business has a moral obligation not to intervene in the political arena in order to defeat or weaken environmental legislation. • Obeying Environmental Laws • Businesses have often broken environmental laws, and this has had a negative impact on the environment. • For example, toxic waste haulers have illegally dumped hazardous materials & caused environmental damage. • Business has a moral obligation to obey environmental laws, just like all other laws. • Thus, the wrongful conduct in these cases involves the violation of a moral obligation to obey the law, NOT the violation of some special obligation to the environment. • The obligation to protect the environment should fall on consumers, not business. • If consumers want environmentally friendly products, which cost more, then they will demand them. • If consumers demanded such products, then business would have a moral obligation to provide such products. • However, U.S. consumers have shown that they are typically unwilling to pay the extra cost for environmentally friendly products. • Therefore, business has met its moral obligations simply by obeying environmental laws. • Special Expertise • If a particular business has special expertise that can mitigate or solve an environmental problem, then the business may have a moral obligation to do so. • However, this obligation arises solely because the business possesses this special expertise. • If a business does not possess any special expertise, then it has no greater obligation to protect the environment than any other social group (and perhaps less of an obligation). • Not Intervening in the Political Arena • The area where business most often violates moral obligations regarding the environment, is by intervening in the political arena to defeat or weaken environmental legislation. • In these cases, business want to have its cake and eat it too: – Business argues that consumers should decide how much environmental protection/conservation is appropriate. – The only way for consumers to express their desires regarding environmental protection/conservation is through their elected government representatives. – Thus, business will argue that it’s the job of government to pass legislation determining how much environmental protection/conservation should be required. – However, business will then use its money to defeat or water down environmental legislation. • Therefore, business has a moral obligation not to intervene in the political process to defeat or weaken environmental regulation • This is a moral obligation to the environment, because business does not have a general obligation to refrain from pursuing its own interests in the political arena. – For example, business does nothing wrong if it tries to influence legislation concerning tariffs, trade policy, labor policy, etc. Hoffman • Bowie argues against substantive environmental obligations for business, by claiming that: – 1) Business only has an obligation to comply with environmental laws. – 2) Business has an additional obligation not to influence the political process in order to defeat or weaken environmental laws. • However, Bowie fails to recognize that business is now expected to be a moral active partner in dealing with social concerns. • Society needs the cooperation of all participants to solve its most urgent problems, which includes survival of the planet and the environmental crisis that we face. • Corporations have special knowledge, expertise, and resources that can be invaluable in dealing with our environmental crisis. • We need corporations to cooperate with government in solving these problems. • So contrary to Bowie’s claims, corporations should NOT stay out of the political process. • Rather, corporations have a moral obligation to lobby against bad environmental legislation, and to lobby for good environmental legislation. • Furthermore, even if Bowie is correct that consumers are not demanding environmentally friendly products, business needs to show leadership by producing such products. • Business has an obligation to show leadership on numerous environmental issues, and this requires vision, commitment, courage, risk, & sacrifice. • Example: – Many CEO’s lobbied President Trump not to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. – After Trump pulled out of the agreement, over 1700 companies & investors signed a letter pledging that they would still uphold the Paris agreement. – https://hbr.org/2018/10/why-climate-change-and-otherglobal-problems-are-pushing-some-business-leaders-toembrace-regulation • What criteria should justify the environmental obligations of business? • There are cases where business can make money by doing environmentally friendly activities. – These are cases where “going green” is profitable, because it generates consumer demand. • This is NOT the correct approach to justifying environmental obligations for business. – While it may sometimes pay to be “green,” this will not always be the case. – However, business needs to show leadership & contribute to solving our environmental crisis, even if it does NOT pay. – This is because helping to solve our environmental crisis is a moral obligation, and business is responsible for meeting its moral obligations even if they do not pay. • How should we conceive of the environmental obligations of business? • Just as we should not justify the environmental obligations of business based on profitability, we should not conceive of these environmental obligations as based on merely human self-interest. – Stockholder theory justifies obligations based only on profitability, but even stakeholder theory justifies obligations based only on human self-interest (of the various stakeholder groups). • Instead, we must take a Biocentric Approach to this issue: The environmental obligations of business should be conceived as obligations to the environment itself. – In other words, these are NOT obligations to other human beings, but obligations to the environment. • It is only by conceiving of the environmental obligations of business based on a Biocentric Approach, that we can truly recognize these ethical obligations and justify the kind of leadership that business has a responsibility to offer.

Tutor Answer

School: UT Austin

Please find attached. Let me know if you need edits.


Utilitarianism and Deontology Philosophies
Student’s Name:
Institutional Affiliation:
Date Due:



Utilitarianism is a moral and rational theory which argues that actions are only good if
they are to the benefit of the majority (Duska et al. 2018). Utilitarianism theorists (Jeremy
Bentham and John Stuart) hold the view that whether actions are moral or immoral relies on their
consequences. They argue that morality should drive people towards a better life by championing
for good things that benefit the majority of people and consequently reducing bad things that can
be as a result of negative human actions. The theory has ethical obligations that can be well
utilized by corporations to uphold their morality when operating ...

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