Your overall goals are: to illuminate the financial, legal and ethical dimension
Your overall goals are: to illuminate the financial, legal and ethical dimensions of the problem, and to recommend a solution (or analyze how a corporation handled a situation) that makes sense financially, legally and ethically. Here are some suggestions for covering these three areas.
HANDLING THE FINANCIAL ISSUES. Identify the financial impact of the problem and the financial implications of the solution. This isn’t so much an exercise in detailed financial analysis (although feel free to do so, if you like that sort of thing) as much as an explanation of: how (and to what extent) the problem raises or lowers the company’s costs or profits; how expensive your solution is; whether the company is in a position to afford your solution; and the like.
HANDLING THE LEGAL ISSUES. Identify laws, regulations or court cases that effectively restrict what the company may do. Obviously, significant fines or settlements are important financial issues.
HANDLING THE ETHICAL ISSUES. One-third of your score will depend on how well you handle the ethical dimensions of your case. You will be expected to operate within a framework that discusses ethics in terms of a) the tangible good and/or harm experienced by those affected (humans and, if appropriate, nonhumans) and b) the “rights” or fundamental moral principles involved. (In other words, you are expected to utilize a secular, philosophical framework.). This can be done by answering the following series of questions:
– Does the problem/solution harm anyone?
– Are there ways that those harmed (or others) are benefited in a way that justifies the harm? Does the good outweigh the harm?
– In thinking about these benefits and harms, are you considering that some goods are qualitatively better than others and that some harms are qualitatively worse than others?
– Completely apart from the tangible impact of the problem/solution on those affected, is everyone involved being treated appropriately? That is, are there specific “rights” or “duties” that are a part of this case that must be respected? Is there a conflict of rights, duties or obligations? How should the conflict be handled?
An even simpler way of approaching this is to use just two ideas, which, it is fair to say, are good candidates for universal moral principles:
– Do no harm. (Do nothing that increases the risk of harm. If you’re responsible for harm, repair the damage).
– Treat others appropriately. (Actions should respect principles of fairness, justice, equality, truthfulness, dignity, etc. Act responsibly. Keep agreements.)