ASE1 Normative Ethics: Utilitarianism and Deontology
Natural Disaster and the Retail Business Owner
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the news has been full of examples like this one from Hurricane Katrina:
During Hurricane Katrina, there were several cases of retail businesses increasing their prices. Gasoline prices went up, food prices increased as food became scarcer, and the prices of generators also became virtually unaffordable for many. As it became more evident that Hurricane Katrina was going to impact the New Orleans area, many people decided to evacuate the area and move north to Arkansas, Northern Mississippi, and Tennessee to wait out the storm. As vacant motel rooms became fewer and fewer, Brian Johnson, who owned a motel on Interstate 55 near McComb, Mississippi called up his day manager, Lilly and said We know there are going to be a lot of people coming up to stay out of the direct path of the Hurricane. I want you to change our rate from $55 to $200 a night.Lilly was aghast. She responded We cant do that Mr. Johnson, these people need help. Lilly, this is our opportunity to make some money from a bad situation. I really need you to do this.Lilly was silent for a few moments then responded Mr. Johnson, if you insist on increasing these rates, I will quit. Taken by surprise, Brian stated Well Lilly, I guess you have to do what you have to do but Im going to raise these rates. Lilly angrily told Brian she quit and hung up the phone. Brian did increase his prices for the motel over the next week, but only to $125 vice the $200 he initially wanted to. Approximately 3 months after Hurricane Katrina decimated the New Orleans area, Lilly reapplied for her job at the motel Brian owned. Brian was still resentful about what Lilly had done, but he had also tried to see it from her point-of-view. He was not sure what to do. Brian asks you what you think.
Should Brian give Lilly her job back?
Read the background material for this module. Apply that material to the decision making that Lilly made and the decision making that Brian made. Which approach are you applying in deciding what to recommend to Brian?
Write a 2 page paper, not including cover page and reference page, explaining your analysis and advice to Brian. Be sure to demonstrate that you understand the normative ethics issues and the utilitarian and deontological approaches.
Your paper should be double-spaced with 12-point font.
Your paper should have a separate cover page and a separate reference page containing the full citations corresponding to the in-text citations you choose to use in the body of your paper. So in addition to the 2 page body of your paper you will have a title page and a reference page. So overall, you will be submitting a 4 to 5 page document.