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Explain the similarities and differences between an economic cost-benefit analysis and a utilitarian approach to moral reasoning. Use an example of a case from the unit readings to illustrate your explanation. (Focus especially on Grace & Cohen, Chapter 1 and Sorrell & Hendry, 'Narrow and Broad Business Ethics' in e-Reserve). See also Steven Kelman 'Cost-Benefit Analysis: An Ethical Critique' and H. Leonard & R, Zeckhauser, 'Cost-Benefit Analysis Defended' in e-Reserve).
Explain Thomas Hobbes' argument for a general alignment between morality and self-interest and explain one of the major objections to this view. (Sorrell & Hendry, 'Narrow and Broad Business Ethics' in e-Reserve).
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Explain the similarities and differences between an economic cost-benefit analysis and a utilitarian approach to moral reasoning. Use an example of a case from the unit readings to illustrate your explanation.
One of the major similarities between cost-benefit analysis and a utilitarian approach is that both these approaches stress on achieving best results and maximizing benefits while minimizing costs. The Cost-benefit analysis was believed to be an application of the Utilitarian theory by far. While cost-benefit analysis holds well, it is not fair to ignore the fact that its conceptual framework is completely based on what is moral.
The difference between the two is that while economic cost-benefit analysis is based completely on evaluation of pros and cons of a particular act, utilitarianism faces a perpetual dilemma of whether the good consequences actually outweigh the bad. There is a moral angle attached to it.(Kelman)(Tom Sorell)
One case that talks about the two concepts is: There is a wave of ongoing theft in the vicinity and the police are entrusted with the task of arresting the culprit to ensure that nobody commits such a crime again. After numerous failed attempts, they fail to nab the real criminal. To hide their inability and to instil fear in the minds of the real thieves, they decide to arrest an innocent civilian and fabricate a story of how he did all the thefts. The question which arises here is whether it is so important to curb the crime and avoid such acts of theft in future that one innocent man's suffering can be ignored? Here what Utilitarianism speaks of is that it is morally correct to let one man suffer for the good of all others.(H. Leonard, 1983)