Practicing ethics is not an easy job for everyone especially if people need to consider their own interests or the interest of the people around them. Taking egoism and utilitarianism in to account, a person must come up with a sound decision that will be based in his/her own principle (Moseley 2006).
Egoism Principle in Joelle’s Case
Following egoism principle for the case, Joelle has to keep his promise to Mr. Espinal and keep quiet about the company’s secret of dumping toxic waste in a nearby lake. As a senior student, Joelle is very lucky to have the opportunity to work in the chemical plant that is willing to keep Joelle as a regular employee and offer college financial support (Moseley 2006). Examining the situation, the chemical plant’s offer gives a lot of opportunity for Joelle to have a more stable college education and career after graduation.
In egoism, all persons act for their own interests (Moseley 2006). By keeping the chemical plant’s secret, Joelle is serving her own interest and the plant’s interests at the same time. Because Joelle is an employee in the chemical plant, Mr. Espinal has a hold on him and that is through the college assistance offer that Joelle might lose once she reveals the secret.
By staying loyal to Mr. Espinal, Joelle is able to ensure a bright future without worrying on financial needs and job problems. By doing a simple task of keeping quiet, Joelle is able to save a lot of money and be better than everyone else in the future.
The downside of keeping the secret is that, people living in the area will be subjected to the harmful effects of the chemicals like health problems and death in a worst situation.
Utility Principle in Joelle’s Case
If Joelle will follow the utility principle and let the authority know about the chemical’s plant’s unethical actions, she will be able to save herself and the thousands of people living in the area from the harmful effects of the chemicals (Willett 2009).
According to law, chemical plants are required to practice a safe way of dumping their waste to avoid chemical spillage that may cause harmful effects to humans, animals, plants and other living things. The effect of the chemicals might last for years depending on its toxicity level. Therefore, any violation of this rule will subject the chemical plant to legal actions, fines and closure (CHR 2000).
If Joelle will let the authorities know about Mr. Espinal’s company secrets, the chemical plant’s unlawful actions will be immediately addressed and the chemical plant will be prevented from further polluting the lake and affecting thousands of people especially the young ones. In addition, through Joelle’s mother, people from other areas and environmental organizations will be aware of the chemical plant’s unethical operations and will have the option to stop buying their products or request the retailers to stop selling the chemical plant’s products as a form of protest against them (Willett 2009).
The downside of Joelle’s decision of considering the interests of the majority is that Joelle will not be able to have the college assistant grant that is offered by the chemical plant. If the company closes, Joelle will lose her job, college financial assistance and future position in the chemical plant. In the worst situation, Joelle’s life might be at risk if the chemical plant will try to threaten her life to protect the chemical plant’s interests.
Joelle should have the courage to reveal the chemical plant’s secret to the authority so that appropriate legal actions can be done. Joelle might lose her job and financial grant but her dreams are still there and Joelle can still work her way to her success. Joelle is a good student and hardworking employee thus, through her efforts; Joelle will surely find another company that can help her. What is important is that Joelle will be able to protect the interests of many people and be able to save herself, her family and the thousands of people living in the area today and even in the future.
Commission on Human Rights. (2000). Adverse effects of the illicit movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights. Commission on Human Rights Resolution. Available at: http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/TestFrame/50cb8807b242b2ce802568d6002fdf1b?Opendocument
Moseley, A. (2006). Egoism. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Available at: http://www.iep.utm.edu/e/egoism.htm
Willett, M. (2009). The Utility Principle. Debate Unlimited. Available at: http://www.mwillett.org/Politics/utility.htm