Are You as Ethical as You Think You Are?

Are You as Ethical as You Think You Are?

Elizabeth Berlin, Impact Staff

We constantly argue ethical practices on a daily basis. People predict that they will make ethical decisions in their lifetime, but do they really? Are they practicing ethical behavior religiously? Or are people just judging on other people’s decisions instead of evaluating themselves? Unfortunately, many people will not practice what they preach to others. When evaluating different situations, people judge how other people react ethically, but in the end, their ethical decision was not exactly the best one either. We want people to act ethically and make the right choices, but for some reason, it is hard to be ethical. It is hard to make the “right” decision, because sometimes, those decisions do not benefit you as an individual. What a world this would be if people actually behaved ethically, and made ethical decisions.

People do not go out of the way to be unethical. We find that many people who are making unethical decisions, are making them to benefit themselves. It is selfish of them, but everyone does it. No one wants to make a decision or behave a certain way that will negatively affect them purposely. People are aggressive, and will do what ever it takes to positively benefit them. I mean, this is unfortunate, and not exactly just, but it is what it is, and that is the way that society behaves.

I am currently taking an ethics class this semester to learn about ethical behaviors, why people behave the way they do and how to evaluate an ethical situation. I really find this class interesting, not only because I am learning different technical terms, but because as a student, I get to view other students opinions on different ethical situations. Some times we do not have a choice on which side of a case we argue, so it is interesting to see how people view the different cases. You may not agree with the side you have to argue, but you have to sell your case and really make believe that what you are doing and saying is ethical even though it may not be.

For example, one of the case studies that we had to evaluate was the controversy involving the GE healthcare in India. The case outlines the dilemma of when ultra sound technology was implicated in many cases of prenatal sex determination. One group had to argue the fact that the ultrasound technology benefits people in many ways, although in India, they used this technology to determine the sex of their baby, and if the fetus was a girl, they would terminate the pregnancy immediately.

The group that had to argue this used other factors that made their case sound ethical. For example, they said that the ultra sound technology could determine if someone had an infection or disease developing. They said that if they did not have this ultra sound technology, that they would not be able to diagnose the patients, and they would eventually die.

The other group’s argument was to discontinue the product, this way women could not receive a sonogram to find out what the sex of the baby was. They argued that they did not want their product to be the determining factor in killing the female fetuses.

A couple of people in the class disagreed with their statements. When the mother had the baby, they would have to kill the child anyway.  With or without the apparatus the female children would die because of the Indian culture. The group who wanted to discontinue the product answered back that the Indian culture was not their problem. They said that they wanted to discontinue the ultra sound technology so their machines would not be the initial cause of all of the deaths.

I nor the rest of the class agreed with their side of the case, but because they were forced to argue those points, they had to go along with it. With this case, the class knew what the ethical decision was, and we all agreed on the same points. Thankfully no one was actually strongly opinionated about discontinuing the product, because clearly that is not the most ethical decision.

If people behaved ethically and didn’t make selfish decisions society would be so different for the better. Many people do not realize that the decisions they make can really hurt someone in the long run. Hopefully people will soon start to realize this and start making ethical decisions as well as to not be selfish and make decisions to just benefit them.