Pinto: Utilitarianism In The Pinto Case

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In the late 1960’s Japan and Germany were producing numerous vehicles to compete against American made cars. Ford motor company wanted to produce a subcompact car to meet the threat from abroad head on so Ford came up with the Ford Pinto. These cars were made to be affordable and domestic, in order for a large quantity of Americans to be able to afford them. To accelerate product production Ford “decided to compress the normal drafting board to showroom time of about three and a half years into two” (Shaw, p. 85). After numerous crash-tests of Pinto prototypes, many cars ended up in a fiery blaze raising concerns about engineering quality. However, Ford decided to go ahead and produce the Pinto knowing that there was a fuel tank malfunction …show more content…
Utilitarianism, although interesting in theory by being the best for the most people, is simply not a feasible task. Utilitarianism disregards basic human rights for each individual. As mentioned in The Benefits of Lung Cancer that the Czech government thought about increasing the tax rate on cigarettes, but after a cost benefit analysis by Phillip Morris proved that the cigarettes are actually saving the government money. This is due to smokers dying earlier and saving the government money in the long term due to not having to pay “health care, pensions and housing for the elderly” (Sandel, p. 42). This is another prime example of how the cost benefit analysis that companies impose on people can be misleading and degrading to human life. Sandel even mentions that a newspaper ran an ad with a $1,227 price tag on a foot in the morgue, “representing the savings to the Czech government of each smoking related death”(Sandel, p. 42). In the instance of the smoking and the Pinto case, both ignore peoples’ individual rights. This is one of the reasons why the moral theory of utilitarianism is …show more content…
As previously stated, even though Ford produced the Pinto to provide an affordable, domestically made vehicle allowing car ownership by many more consumers, it still does not truly benefit all people. Ford designed a hazardous product and rather than fix it, they decided to ignore the facts as well as disregard human life and disregard their utilitarian responsibilities. By Sandel’s standards, Ford broke one of the main platforms of utilitarianism and is therefore at fault and responsible for all of the wrong doings that ensued. Furthermore, Ford should not be able or willing to put a price tag on an individual’s life. By Ford’s willingness to stamp a price tag on each person killed or injured as the result of their faulty cars shows a disregard for individual’s

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