Three Moral Problems and their Consequences and Actions (1010 words)

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Question
Consider these three problems. In writing a paper about all three of them individually, identify the consequences of the actions taken, and then determine whether the actions taken represented a greater good, who would benefit from the good, and whether the consequences ethically justify the decisions and actions.

Problem #1
The Mayor of a large city was given a free membership in an exclusive golf club by people who have received several city contracts. He also accepted gifts from organizations that have not done business with the City but might in the future. The gifts ranged from $200 tickets to professional sports events to designer watches and jewelry.

Problem #2
A college instructor is pursuing her doctorate in night school. To gain extra time for her own studies, she gives her students the same lectures, the same assignments, and the same examinations semester after semester without the slightest effort to improve them.

Problem #3
Todd and Edna have been married for three years. They have had serious personal problems. Edna is a heavy drinker, and Todd cannot keep a job. Also, they have bickered and fought constantly since their marriage. Deciding that the way to overcome their problems is to have a child, they stop practicing birth control, and Edna becomes pregnant.

Using what you have learned from our discussions and readings up to this week, write an answer to all three parts. How would Locke have addressed or solved the problem? Explain how his ethics and the answer he may have given are different or the same as yours.
Solution
Problem #1
The Mayor of a large city was given a free membership in an exclusive golf club by people who have received several city contracts. He also accepted gifts from organizations that have not done business with the City but might in the future. The gifts ranged from $200 tickets to professional sports events to designer watches and jewelry.

In the first problem, a civic official takes cash (and cash-value goods) as a gift from entities that in turn have been rewarded, or will be awarded contracts to work for the city. The civic official’s act, accepting the gifts, has a moral consequence. The consequence of the act results in a significant quantitative good for the official. He benefits by the entities’ largesse. In theory, the gift givers benefit because they have been awarded contracts that will be potentially profitable. Another consequence of the mayor’s act is that competition among entities is eliminated because the transaction between vendor and official nullifies the chances that other entities that did not give cash value gifts to the official. Of course, the mayor could award the contracts to the entities who did not offer gifts. However, it seems reasonable to assume, based on the story presented, that the mayor aims to award those who awarded him. Ultimately the consequences of the city receiving a benefit from the mayor’s act solely depends on whether or not the entities fulfill the duties of the contract. What if the mayor did not entertain any gifts? Would the resulting good be the same, more, or less? In other words, does the city receive the same benefits from the completion of the contracts regardless of whether they bribed the mayor with material wealth? For example, if building a six station streetcar line in the middle of downtown was one of the contracts, would it matter who the mayor awarded the contract? The answer is yes because the intention of the contract systems is that each entity would make a bid in the hopes that the city will choose them to complete the project....

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