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Utilitarianism and Deontology: The Case of Coca Cola Essay

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The high tempo of life in the 21st century coupled with globalization has upped the stakes for business managers to be more competitive in their attempts to safeguard the interests of their organizations while amassing huge profits for their shareholders.

More often than not, this is done in total disregard of the workers and consumers of the products and services churned out by the organizations. Multinational corporations have been particularly cited for utter disregard of employee labour laws and consumer laws in host countries. Presently, multinationals are always in the headlines for realizing enormous profits.

However, their employees’ standards of living continue to plummet at alarming levels while their consumers continue to die of hunger and starvation especially in the least developed countries (Shah para. 1). In this perspective, my company of choice will be Coca Cola since it has a global representation yet it has failed to prevent some critical moral problems as the one highlighted above.

Coca Cola is a world leader in the beverages business. The company is well known for its soft drinks, fruit juices, bottled water and sports drinks. The Coca Cola brand is found in all the continents and majority of countries in the world. The company has faced challenges in collating the accurate number of its employees due to its international presence but experts believe it has employed hundreds of thousands of workers to run its affairs at a global level.

Coca cola is also known for spearheading social responsibility programs, and has a keen interest on environmental conservation, sponsorship programs and sports. Despite these achievements, the corporation is under constant criticism and censure for its international human rights record (Blanding para 3).

The corporation has been accused of financing terror squads to execute union activists in Columbia. Coca Cola has largely being blamed for polluting and depleting water supplies in India. These are serious moral issues. However, this essay will deal with the moral issue that accuses the company of causing serious obesity problems to young children through its aggressive marketing strategies.

Both utilitarianism and deontological ethics can be used to evaluate the above named moral problem. Most philosophers believe that the utilitarian ethical theory is attributed to John Stuart Mill (Boss 23). According to the theory the most ethical thing for Coca Cola to do is to come up with a solution that will maximize the happiness within all the areas and regions that it plies its trade.

The company has been accused of causing obesity by encouraging young children to drink their products through aggressive marketing strategies. According to utilitarian theorists, all actions have some quantifiable outcomes, and the best action is one that guarantees the most happiness and satisfaction to the most members of a group or society.

As such, actions must always be based on the outcomes they bring. Based on the above, the Coca Cola group is morally obliged to come up with a strategy that will discourage young children from taking the products. According to utilitarianism, the moral worth of advertising the products does not contribute to the overall good or utility to the society.

However, since utilitarianism denotes the greatest overall good to the maximum number of individuals, Coca Cola still have the leeway to show that its products pass the moral test when evaluated in relation to the larger society rather than a particular segment of society. Using utilitarianism, Coca Cola only needs to come up with figures that positively reveal that their soft drinks contribute the greatest overall happiness to the largest constituent of society.

The field of deontological ethics is largely attributed to Immanuel Kant. Deontological ethics demands that all the actions and the means through which such actions are achieved must be ethically correct (Boss 27). Consequently, this ethical principle holds the view that some actions are morally wrong regardless of their outcomes. As such, the perceived wrongness and rightness of Coca cola’s operations must be sorely evaluated on the basis of the intention of the action rather than the consequence of causing obesity to young children.

This is one of the deontological rights that the company may have under deontological ethics; it must not be condemned for the reason that its products cause obesity to young children. Indeed, the action of causing obesity to young children may be morally wrong, but it does not form the basis for decision making under deontological ethics. Such an ethical orientation gives the company a chance to explain its intentions and the consequences that such intentions may have.

In this perspective, Coca Cola Company have a right to be rewarded or vilified by communities and rights groups based on their intentions rather than the consequences their soft drinks may have on young children. Based on this form of ethics, Coca Cola also enjoys the right to be bound by duty rather than some negative consequences caused by its products. Consequently, the company may have a binding case to prove under deontological ethics.

Works Cited

Blanding, M. Coke is Death. 2006 Web.

Boss, J. Ethics for Life: A Text with Readings, 3rd Ed. McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 9780072831337

Shah, A. Corporations and Worker’s Rights. 2006. Retrieved from <>

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IvyPanda. (2019, December 22). Utilitarianism and Deontology: The Case of Coca Cola. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/utilitarianism-and-deontology-the-case-of-coca-cola/

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"Utilitarianism and Deontology: The Case of Coca Cola." IvyPanda, 22 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/utilitarianism-and-deontology-the-case-of-coca-cola/.

1. IvyPanda. "Utilitarianism and Deontology: The Case of Coca Cola." December 22, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/utilitarianism-and-deontology-the-case-of-coca-cola/.


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IvyPanda. "Utilitarianism and Deontology: The Case of Coca Cola." December 22, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/utilitarianism-and-deontology-the-case-of-coca-cola/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Utilitarianism and Deontology: The Case of Coca Cola." December 22, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/utilitarianism-and-deontology-the-case-of-coca-cola/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) 'Utilitarianism and Deontology: The Case of Coca Cola'. 22 December.

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