Case Study: Consumer Safety: Product Dumping
Once the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) prohibits the sale of a particular product in the United States, a manufacturer can no longer sell the product to U.S. wholesalers or retailers. However, the product can be sold in other countries that have not prohibited its sale. The same is true of other countries’ sales to the United States. For example, Great Britain outlawed the sale of the prescription sleeping pill, Halcion, but sales of the drug continue in the U.S. The British medical community reached conclusions regarding the pill’s safety that differed from the conclusions reached by the medical community and the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. Some researchers who conducted studies on the drug in the U.S. simply concluded that stronger warning labels were needed.
The CPSC outlawed the sale of three-wheeled all-terrain cycles in the U.S. in 1988. While some manufacturers had already turned to four-wheel models, other manufacturers still had inventories of three-wheel cycles. Testimony on the cycles ranged from contentions that the vehicles themselves were inherently dangerous, to arguments that the vehicles were safe but drivers were too young, too inexperienced, and more inclined to take risks. Still, the three-wheeled vehicle can be sold outside the U.S. For many companies, chaos follows a product recall because inventory of the recalled product may be high. Often, firms must decide whether to “dump” the product in other countries or take a write-off that could damage earnings, stock prices, and employment stability.
If you were a manufacturer holding substantial inventory of a product that has been outlawed in the U.S., would you have any ethical concerns about selling the product in countries that do not [yet] prohibit its sale? To what extent will your decision be affected by the level of the write- down in income you must take.
PAPERS: The papers will be a moral evaluation of cases. It should be short, about 5 pages, double spaced, APA or MLA format acceptable.
It is imperative that you CITE. This is the most important aspect of writing a paper. If you paraphrase from a book or journal article, you need to give me the citation from where you found the idea. If you quote, once again I need a citation. Similarly if you are simply alluding to a particular idea, I need a citation. Any paper not citing De George properly gets as the highest grade a B.
I need a Bibliography at the end of the paper. Please use Internet resources as a last resource, and not as a main source of information. The main sources of information should be a) your book, b) books or journal articles related to the topic at hand, c) newspaper or magazine articles, and d) as a last resort, internet resources. I do not want a paper to use primarily and only Internet resources. If the paper only uses Internet resources, it will lead to a grade of 0.
1) The paper ought to begin first with explaining the case at hand:
a) It has to establish what is being asked of the agent to do
b) Who is affected?
c) What is the problem?
d) In what ways is this morally problematic?
e) What are possible future consequences of not doing the right act?
2) The paper ought to then provide a brief explanation of each of the three major theories we have looked at and how each attempts to guide one’s moral actions:
1. a) Utilitarianism and the Principle of Utility
2. b) Deontology and the Universalizability Principle, or the Dignity of Persons Principle, or the
Kingdom of Ends Principle (pick one principle and explain instead of explaining all three)
3. c) Virtue and the right formation of Character
Make sure that you attend at least but not limited to the following concepts in explaining Section 2:
1. a) Utility
2. b) Justice
3. c) Consequences
4. d) Rationality/Universalizibility/Kingdom of Ends/
a. Non-contradiction b. Consistency
5. e) Reasonableness/Dignity of Persons
6. f) Rights/duties/Perfect/Imperfect/Positive/Negative
7. g) Justice
8. h) Moral and Intellectual Virtues
9. i) Character
10. j) Moral Intuitions
3) Finally: What do you think is the right act? What ought the agent do in this case?
a) You can pick from any of the theories above or borrow parts from all, or simply use the
theory you think provides the best answer.
b) Be sure to tell me specifically why you think this is the morally permissible outcome and
what you think the consequences will be to having picked that act as the right act.
Make sure that you explain every possible detail how you arrived at your solution. DO NOT start with a solution already in mind; that will cloud your judgment. Make sure you let the theory guide you properly.
I know that I am asking you to do many things at once in only 5-6 pages. That means that you have to really think about what needs to be stated carefully and to the point. Please no at length quotes.
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