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Living Wage Issue in Utilitarian Ethics Essay (Article)

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Updated: Nov 20th, 2021

According to Hidalgo (2013), a factory was opened in a poverty-stricken area. The company employed several people, including a woman who had been unemployed for a long time. Due to her lack of experience, the woman earned less than the rest. It can be argued that the woman in question is better off making meager wages compared to none. However, the salary she earns is still not enough to cater to her basic needs. The utilitarianism theory can be applied to the woman’s situation since it focuses more on the outcome of an action rather than the act itself (Mulgan, 2017). It is arguable that even though the employer provides an opportunity to the employee, meager wages do not improve his or her life and social status in any way.

The leaders of the factory believe that they are helping the woman regardless of the amount she is being paid. Thus, it would be difficult to convince them to pay the woman the living wage. Ethics requires that the employer be able to satisfy the basic needs of their employees (Ferell, 2013). An adverse effect that comes up when minimum and living wages are legislated is that most employees may be overworked as companies will hire fewer people (Shaw & Barry, 2015). However, businesses should be responsible for providing the living wage since employees are assets.

References

Hidalgo, J. (2013). Do employers have obligations to pay their workers a living wage? Business Ethics Journal Review, 1(11), 69-75.

Mulgan, T. (2017). How should utilitarians think about the future? Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 47(2/3), 290-312.

Shaw, W., & Barry, V. (2015). Moral issues in business (13th ed.). Mason, MA: Cengage Learning.

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