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Session 7 The Ethics of Consumer Production and Marketing The Ethics of Job Discrimination
Session 7
The Ethics of Consumer
Production and Marketing
The Ethics of Job
Discrimination
Session 7 • Chapter 6: The Ethics of Consumer Production and Marketing • Chapter 7:
Session 7
• Chapter 6: The Ethics of Consumer
Production and Marketing
• Chapter 7: The Ethics of Job
Discrimination
Chapter 6
Chapter 6
Markets and Consumer Protection • Laissez faire or "market" approach holds that consumers will automatically
Markets and Consumer Protection
• Laissez faire or "market" approach
holds that consumers will
automatically be protected from injury
and other loss (e.g., due to product
breakdown) by the operations of free
and competitive markets thanks to
consumer sovereignty
Thanks to consumer sovereignty • Sellers must respond to consumer demands. – product safety features
Thanks to consumer sovereignty
• Sellers must respond to consumer
demands.
– product safety features consumers want
and are willing to pay for will be produced
– producers will have to respond to consumer
demand for safer products or risk losing
customers to others who do
Markets and Consumer Protection • Consumers automatically will be protected from injury by the operations
Markets and Consumer Protection
• Consumers automatically will be
protected from injury by the
operations of free and competitive
markets
– Sellers must respond to consumer demands.
Consumers protected by free markets • But this system will work only when markets have
Consumers protected by free
markets
• But this system will work only when
markets have the seven characteristics
of a perfectly free market.
– Market forces by themselves are not
enough to deal with safety, risk, and
value issues
• Inadequate information
• Consumer irrationality
• Concentrated markets
Conclusion • "On balance it does not seem that market forces by themselves can deal
Conclusion
• "On balance
it does not seem
that market forces by themselves
can deal with all consumer concerns
for safety, freedom from risk, and
value."
Limitation • The world can't be made perfectly safe: producers can't be expected to protect
Limitation
• The world can't be made perfectly safe:
producers can't be expected to protect
people from extremes of ignorance and
foolishness
– people who remove safety guards from
power tools
– smoke while they're pouring gasoline into
their lawnmowers
Central Issue • Where does the consumers’ duty to protect their own interests end and
Central Issue
• Where does the
consumers’ duty to
protect their own
interests end and the
manufacturer's duty to
protect consumers'
interests begin?
Three theories • Contract view: places the greatest responsibility on the consumer • “Due care"
Three theories
• Contract view: places the greatest
responsibility on the consumer
• “Due care" places more
responsibility on the producer
• Social costs view: places the most
responsibility on the producer
The Contract View of Business’s Duties to Consumers •Relationship between business and customers is a
The Contract View of Business’s
Duties to Consumers
•Relationship between business and
customers is a contractual relationship
•The firm’s moral duties to the
customer are created by this
relationship
The Contract View of Business’s Duties to Consumers •Contract theory •free agreement that imposes on
The Contract View of Business’s
Duties to Consumers
•Contract theory
•free agreement that imposes on the
parties the basic duty of complying
with the terms of the agreement
Moral constraints • Full knowledge of the nature of the agreement • Neither party must
Moral constraints
• Full knowledge of the
nature of the agreement
• Neither party must
misrepresent facts
• Neither is forced to enter
the contract under
duress or undue
influence
Moral Duties of a Business • The Duty to Comply: Firm has a moral duty
Moral Duties of a Business
• The Duty to Comply: Firm has a moral
duty to provide consumers with a
product that lives up to the company’s
claims
– Reliability
– Service Life
– Maintainability
– Product Safety
Reliability • Concerns whether the product will function as the customer has been led to
Reliability
• Concerns whether the product will function
as the customer has been led to expect
• Issue concerning devices containing many
interdependent components
– the more interdependent components a product
incorporates, the greater reliability is demanded of each
component since the probability of the whole
functioning correctly is the product of the parts.
– For example, a unit with four components each with a
10% chance of failing has a 34% chance of failing: .9 *
.9 * 9 * .9 = .66
Product Safety • The degree of risk associated with using the product. Acceptable known levels
Product Safety
• The degree of risk associated with
using the product. Acceptable
known levels of risk is the operative
concept
– no product is absolutely risk-free
– the issue is what levels of risk are
acceptable or reasonable
Product Safety • A product is safe if its attendant risks are known – and
Product Safety
• A product is safe if its attendant risks are
known
– and judged to be acceptable by the buyer
– in view of the benefits the buyer has been led to
believe he or she will obtain from the product
• Obligation of the seller: to provide a product
that involves only those risks he or she
represents it to the customer as having
National Product Safety Commission’s Checklist • A risk is unreasonable when – consumers do not
National Product Safety Commission’s
Checklist
• A risk is unreasonable when
– consumers do not know it exists
– though aware of it, they are unable to properly
estimate its frequency or severity
– consumers don't know how to cope with it and are
thus likely to incur harm unnecessarily
– the risk could be eliminated at a cost the customer
would willingly pay
• if he or she knew the facts
• and had the choice
Duty of Disclosure • An agreement cannot bind unless both parties to the agreement know
Duty of Disclosure
• An agreement cannot bind unless both parties to
the agreement know what they are doing and
freely choose to do it.
• The seller has a duty to inform the buyer of any
fact about the product that would affect the
customer’s decision to purchase the product.
• Freedom depends on knowledge
Duty Not to Misrepresent • Misrepresentation renders freedom of choice impossible • An act is
Duty Not to Misrepresent
• Misrepresentation renders
freedom of choice
impossible
• An act is coercive if the
person would not have
freely chosen it if he or she
had known the truth
Duty Not to Coerce • The seller takes advantage of a buyer’s fear or emotional
Duty Not to Coerce
• The seller takes advantage of a buyer’s
fear or emotional stress to extract
consent to an agreement that the buyer
would not make if the buyer were
thinking rationally.
Duty Not to Coerce • Duty not to take advantage of gullibility, immaturity, ignorance, or
Duty Not to Coerce
• Duty not to take advantage of gullibility,
immaturity, ignorance, or any other
factor that reduces or eliminates the
ability to make free rational choices
Problems with the Contractual Theory • Unreality of the assumptions – Unrealistically assumes manufacturers make
Problems with the Contractual
Theory
• Unreality of the assumptions
– Unrealistically assumes manufacturers make
direct agreements with consumers
• Freedom of contract allows a
manufacturer to be released from
contractual obligations by explicitly
disclaiming that the product is reliable,
serviceable, safe
Problems with the Contractual Theory • Buyers and sellers meet as equals • “Caveat Emptor”
Problems with the Contractual
Theory
• Buyers and sellers
meet as equals
• “Caveat Emptor”
highlights inequality
between buyer and
seller
The Due Care Theory • Due to manufacturers’ advantaged position, they have a duty to
The Due Care Theory
• Due to manufacturers’ advantaged
position, they have a duty to take
special "care" to ensure that
consumers’ interests are not harmed
by their products.
The Due Care Theory • Caveat vendor • Design • Production • Information
The Due Care Theory
• Caveat vendor
• Design
• Production
• Information
The Due Care Theory • Problems • How to determine when one has exercised enough
The Due Care Theory
• Problems
• How to determine
when one has
exercised enough
“due care”
• May not know all the
risks
• Appears paternalistic
Social Cost View • Manufacturers should pay the costs of any injury sustained through any
Social Cost View
• Manufacturers should pay the costs of any
injury sustained through any defect in the
product, even when the manufacturer
exercised all due care in the design and
manufacture of the product.
• This is an attempt to come to grips with the
problem of allocating liability between two
morally innocent parties.
Social Cost Theory • Based on utilitarian argument, the manufacturer should bear external costs that
Social Cost Theory
• Based on utilitarian argument, the manufacturer
should bear external costs that result from injuries;
this will ensure that product is not overproduced.
• Problems: unfair because it violates the basic
canons of compensatory justice; encourages
carelessness of consumers; increases financial
burdens of manufacturers and insurance carriers
Advantage of internalizing costs • Internalizing these costs would lead to fairer distribution of costs
Advantage of internalizing
costs
• Internalizing these costs would lead to fairer
distribution of costs
– Injury-related costs would be added to the cost of
the product
– and hence spread out among all users: not borne
entirely by the few who are injured
– more efficient use of resources
Advantage of internalizing costs • The market price reflects the true social cost of producing
Advantage of internalizing costs
• The market price reflects the true social cost of
producing and using the product
– ensures the product won't be overproduced
– which wastes social resources
• Result: Safer products: if producers assume all the
risks, then they'll be highly motivated to eliminate
risks
Problems with the Social Costs View • Violates the basic principles of compensatory justice that
Problems with the Social Costs View
• Violates the basic principles of compensatory
justice that one is obligated to compensate
parties for consequences of one's acts only those
consequences that were foreseeable and
preventable.
• Parties treated unfairly include manufacturers,
others who have to pay for unwanted safety
features, and insurance companies.
Problems with the Social Costs View • Won't reduce the number of accidents – extra
Problems with the Social Costs View
• Won't reduce the number of accidents
– extra motivation for producers to make a
safer product will be offset by decrease in
motivation for users to use the product
safely and correctly
– “safer planes” result in more “pilot error”
Problems with the Social Costs View • Life's Unfair: It seems there's no just solution
Problems with the Social Costs View
• Life's Unfair: It seems there's no just
solution to the problem about
unforeseeable risks which the Social Costs
view tries to solve
– Which of two parties—manufacturer or
consumer—should bear the expense for
injuries for which they were not responsible,
could not foresee, or could not prevent?
– Whoever bears the cost, it's unfair.
ADVERTISING ETHICS
ADVERTISING ETHICS
RESPONSIBILITY FOR PRODUCTS: ADVERTISING AND SALES • The goal of all marketing is the sale—the
RESPONSIBILITY FOR PRODUCTS:
ADVERTISING AND SALES
• The goal of all marketing is the sale—the eventual
exchange between seller and buyer.
– A major element of marketing is sales promotion,
the attempt to influence the buyer to complete a
purchase.
• Target marketing and marketing research are two
important elements of product placement—seeking to
determine which audience is most likely to buy, and
which audience is mostly likely to be influenced by
product promotion.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR PRODUCTS: ADVERTISING AND SALES • There are ethically good and bad ways of
RESPONSIBILITY FOR PRODUCTS:
ADVERTISING AND SALES
• There are ethically good and bad ways of influencing
others.
• Among the ethically commendable ways to influence
another are persuading, asking, informing, and advising.
• Unethical means of influence would include threats,
coercion, deception, manipulation, and lying.
• Unfortunately, often sales and advertising practices
employ deceptive or manipulative means of influence,
or are aimed at audiences that are susceptible to
manipulation or deception.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR PRODUCTS: ADVERTISING AND SALES • To manipulate something is to guide or direct
RESPONSIBILITY FOR PRODUCTS:
ADVERTISING AND SALES
• To manipulate something is to guide or direct its
behavior.
• Manipulation need not involve total control—in fact, it
more likely suggests a process of subtle direction or
management.
• Manipulating people implies working behind the
scenes—guiding their behavior without their explicit
consent or conscious understanding.
• In this way, manipulation is contrasted with persuasion
and other forms of rational influence.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR PRODUCTS: ADVERTISING AND SALES • One of the ways by which we can
RESPONSIBILITY FOR PRODUCTS:
ADVERTISING AND SALES
• One of the ways by which we can manipulate
someone is through deception—one form of which is
an outright lie.
• We can also manipulate someone without deception.
• The more one knows about psychology—your
motivations, interests, desires, beliefs, dispositions,
and so forth—the better able they will be to
manipulate your behavior.
• Knowing such things about another person provides
effective tools for manipulating their behavior.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR PRODUCTS: ADVERTISING AND SALES • Critics charge that many marketing practices manipulate
RESPONSIBILITY FOR PRODUCTS:
ADVERTISING AND SALES
• Critics charge that many marketing practices
manipulate consumers.
– Clearly, many advertisements are deceptive, and some
are outright lies.
– We can also see how marketing research plays into
this—the more one learns about customers’ psychology,
the more one will be to satisfy their desires, but the
more one will also be to manipulate their behavior.
• Critics charge that some marketing practices target
populations that are particularly susceptible to
manipulation and deception.
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING • The general ethical defense of advertising reflects both utilitarian and
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING
• The general ethical defense of advertising reflects
both utilitarian and Kantian ethical standards.
– Advertising provides information for market exchanges
and therefore contributes to market efficiency and to
overall happiness.
– Advertising information also contributes to information
necessary for autonomous individuals to make informed
choices.
• Each of these rationales assumes that the
information is true and accurate.
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING • The deontological tradition in ethics would have the strongest objections
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING
• The deontological tradition in ethics would have the
strongest objections to manipulation.
– When I manipulate people, I treat them as a means to
my own ends, as objects to be used rather than
autonomous people in their own right.
– Manipulation is a clear example of disrespect for
persons since it bypasses their rational decision-making.
– Because the evil rests with the intention to use others
as a means, even unsuccessful manipulations are guilty
of this ethical wrong.
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING • The utilitarian tradition would offer a more conditional critique of
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING
• The utilitarian tradition would offer a more conditional
critique of manipulation, depending on the consequences.
– There can be cases of paternalistic manipulation—in which
someone is manipulated for their own good. But even in such
cases, unforeseen harms can occur.
– Manipulation tends to erode bonds of trust and respect
between persons.
– It can erode one’s self-confidence and hinder the
development of responsible choice among those
manipulated.
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING • Because most manipulation is done to further the manipulator’s own
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING
• Because most manipulation is done to further the
manipulator’s own ends at the expense of the
manipulated, utilitarians would be inclined to think
that manipulation lessens overall happiness.
• A general practice of manipulation, as critics would
charge, occurs in many sales practices, and can
undermine the very social practices that it is thought
to promote as the reputation of sales is lowered.
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING • A particularly egregious form of manipulation occurs when vulnerable people
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING
• A particularly egregious form of manipulation occurs when
vulnerable people are targeted for abuse.
– Cigarette advertising aimed at children is one example that
has received major criticism in recent years.
– Marketing practices targeted at elderly populations for such
goods and services as insurance (particularly Medicare
supplemental insurance), casinos and gambling, nursing
homes, and funerals, have been subjected to similar
criticisms.
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING • Marketing practices that seek to discover which consumers might already
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ADVERTISING
• Marketing practices that seek to discover which consumers
might already and independently be predisposed to
purchasing a product are ethically legitimate.
• Marketing practices that seek to identify populations that
can be easily influenced and manipulated, are not.
• Sales and marketing that appeal to fear, anxiety, or other
non-rational motivations are ethically improper.
Advertising Ethics • Primary function of commercial advertisements is to sell a product to prospective
Advertising Ethics
• Primary function of
commercial advertisements
is to sell a product to
prospective buyers
– Mass audience vs. Private
Message
– Intended to induce audience
to buy seller’s product
Social Effects of Advertising • What does the advertiser intend the effect of the advertisement
Social Effects of Advertising
• What does the
advertiser intend the
effect of the
advertisement to be?
Social Effects of Advertising • What are the actual effects of the advertisement on individuals
Social Effects of Advertising
• What are the actual
effects of the
advertisement on
individuals and on
society as a whole?
Effects on Desire • Does the advertisement inform, or does it also seek to persuade?
Effects on Desire
• Does the advertisement
inform, or does it also seek
to persuade?
• If it is persuasive, does it
attempt to create an
irrational and possibly
injurious desire?
Effects on Belief • Is the content of the advertisement truthful? • Does the advertisement
Effects on Belief
• Is the content of the
advertisement truthful?
• Does the advertisement
tend to mislead those to
whom it is directed?
Advertising Ethics And those forms of advertising which, without shame, exploit the sexual instincts simply
Advertising Ethics
And those forms of advertising which, without shame,
exploit the sexual instincts simply to make money or
which seek to penetrate into the subconscious
recesses of the mind in a way that threatens the
freedom of the individual
must
be shunned. In the
competition to attract ever larger audiences and deliver
them to advertisers, communicators can find
themselves tempted--in fact, subtly or not so subtly--to
set aside high artistic and moral standards and lapse
into superficiality, tawdriness, and moral squalor.
Pontifical Council for Social Communication
Chapter 7 The Ethics of Job Discrimination
Chapter 7
The Ethics of Job Discrimination
Discrimination Defined • Discriminate - to distinguish one object from another (may be morally neutral)
Discrimination Defined
• Discriminate - to distinguish one
object from another (may be
morally neutral)
• Usually used in a negative sense
to refer to differentiation not
based on individual merit but
rather on prejudice or some other
negative attribute.
The Ethics of Job Discrimination • Employment Discrimination - to distinguish illicitly among people not
The Ethics of Job
Discrimination
• Employment Discrimination - to
distinguish illicitly among people not on
individual merit but on the basis of
prejudice leading to a harmful or negative
impact on the interests of the employees
– Religion
– Sex
– Racial group
Arguments against Discrimination • From a Utilitarian Perspective – Society’s productivity will be optimized to
Arguments against
Discrimination
• From a Utilitarian Perspective
– Society’s productivity will be optimized to
the extent that jobs are awarded on the
basis of competency
– Discrimination based on irrelevant
characteristics (e.g., race, gender, etc.) is
inefficient and therefore contrary to
utilitarian principles
Arguments against Discrimination • From a Rights Perspective – Discrimination is wrong because it violates
Arguments against
Discrimination
• From a Rights Perspective
– Discrimination is wrong because it violates
a person's basic moral rights.
• Kant: People should be treated as ends, not
merely as means.
– Everyone has a right to be treated as free
and equal.
• Discrimination treats individuals as unequal.
Arguments against Discrimination • From a Justice and Fairness Perspective – Rawls: In the original
Arguments against
Discrimination
• From a Justice and Fairness Perspective
– Rawls: In the original position, people would
choose equality of opportunity.
– Discrimination arbitrarily limits some people's
opportunities.
Arguments against Discrimination • Discrimination differentiates among individuals based on irrelevant
Arguments against
Discrimination
• Discrimination differentiates among
individuals based on irrelevant
characteristics.
– However, what counts as relevant?
Justice and Fairness • Discrimination denies equal opportunity to compete for jobs • Violates principle
Justice and Fairness
• Discrimination denies equal opportunity to
compete for jobs
• Violates principle of equality: everyone equal
in all respects relevant to the kind of
treatment in question should be treated
equally, even if they are dissimilar in other
non-relevant respects.
Discriminatory Practices • Recruitment Practices •Promotion Practices – Word of mouth recruitment •Career
Discriminatory Practices
• Recruitment Practices
•Promotion Practices
– Word of mouth
recruitment
•Career tracks
•Conditions of Employment
– Composition of workforce
•Wages
– Wording of classified ads
•Discharge
• Screening Practices
– Educational requirements
– Tests
– Job interview
Sexual Harassment • Sexual Harassment – How do you define “sexual harassment?” – Act –
Sexual Harassment
• Sexual Harassment
– How do you define “sexual
harassment?”
– Act
– “Hostile environment”
Sexual Harassment • Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance or conduct on the job
Sexual Harassment
• Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual
advance or conduct on the job that creates an
intimidating, hostile, or offensive working
environment.
• In real life, sexually harassing behavior ranges
from repeated offensive or belittling jokes to a
workplace full of offensive pornography to an
outright sexual assault.
Unwelcome Conduct of a Sexual Nature • Verbal or written – Comments about clothing, personal
Unwelcome Conduct of a
Sexual Nature
• Verbal or written
– Comments about clothing, personal behavior, or a
person’s body
– sexual or sex-based jokes
– requesting sexual favors or repeatedly asking a
person out;
– sexual innuendoes
– telling rumors about a person’s personal or sexual
life
Unwelcome Conduct of a Sexual Nature • Physical: – Assault – impeding or blocking movement
Unwelcome Conduct of a
Sexual Nature
• Physical:
– Assault
– impeding or blocking movement
– inappropriate touching of a person or a person’s
clothing
– kissing, hugging, patting, stroking
Unwelcome Conduct of a Sexual Nature • Non-verbal – Looking up and down a person’s
Unwelcome Conduct of a
Sexual Nature
• Non-verbal
– Looking up and down a person’s body
– derogatory gestures or facial expressions of a
sexual nature
– following a person
• Visual
– Posters, drawings, pictures, screensavers or emails
of a sexual nature
Laws on Sexual Harassment • Legal guidelines prohibit acts of sexual harassment and conduct that
Laws on Sexual Harassment
• Legal guidelines prohibit acts of sexual
harassment and conduct that creates an
intimidating, hostile, or offensive working
environment.
• Legal guidelines state that an employer is
responsible for all sexual harassment engaged
in by its employees.
– Regardless of employer's knowledge
– Even if the employer forbade such practices
Guidelines for evaluating your own workplace behavior • Would you say or do it in
Guidelines for evaluating your own
workplace behavior
• Would you say or do it in front of your
spouse or parents?
• Would you say or do it in front of a
colleague of the same sex?
• How would you feel if your mother, wife,
sister, or daughter were subjected to the
same words or behavior?
Guidelines for evaluating your own workplace behavior Don’t be a jerk at work!! • How
Guidelines for evaluating your
own workplace behavior
Don’t be a jerk at work!!
• How would you feel if another man said or
did the same things to you?
• Does it need to be said or done at all?
Affirmative Action • Programs designed to achieve a more representative distribution of minorities and women
Affirmative Action
• Programs designed to achieve a more
representative distribution of minorities
and women within a firm by giving
preference, in some way, to minorities
and women.
Affirmative Action • Many firms have enacted policies designed to achieve a more representative workforce
Affirmative Action
• Many firms have enacted policies
designed to achieve a more
representative workforce by giving
preference to minorities and women.
• These programs are also used to rectify
the effects of past discrimination.
Affirmative action as compensation • Compensatory justice demands that people compensate those whom they have
Affirmative action as
compensation
• Compensatory justice demands that people
compensate those whom they have
intentionally and unjustly injured.
Affirmative action as compensation • Affirmative action programs serve as a form of reparation by
Affirmative action as
compensation
• Affirmative action programs serve as a form
of reparation by which white males
compensate minorities and women for past
discrimination.
Affirmative action as compensation • However, the principle of compensation demands that specific individuals
Affirmative action as
compensation
• However, the principle of compensation
demands that specific individuals compensate
only those whom they specifically have
wronged.
– Affirmative action supporters counter that all white
males have benefited from past racial and gender
discrimination.
– Also, they claim every minority and every woman
has been injured by past discrimination.