Categorical Imperative: Formula of Universal Law
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1. State your proposed ac as maxim:
“I will take ZAR 620 000 000. 00 (A) when I have done a year’s work (C) in order to get really, really rich (E).” 2. Restate this maxim as a universal law:
“All people (7 billion of them) will take ZAR 620 000 000. 00 when they have done a year’s work in order to get really, really rich.” 3. Ask whether your maxim is conceivable in a world ruled by the universal law: In a world where all 7 billion people earned ZAR 620 000 000.00, everything would be perfect. There would be no inequality, in other words there would be perfect equality, there would also be no difference in society classes and everyone would be rich. In the real world, with everyone earning the same amount, supply and demand would collapse; senior positions would be filled by incompetent and inexperienced people. The economy would collapse and investors would no longer be interested in investing in such a market. Therefore, in all likelihood if all people in the world earned ZAR 620 000 000. 00 for a year’s work the economy would collapse and so it is highly likely that the maxim is not conceivable in a world ruled by universal law.
4. Ask whether you would rationally act on your maxim in such a world.
I would not rationally act on my maxim in such a world. If I were to earn ZAR 620, 000, 000, 00 for a year’s work, I would most probably stop working at an early age, do shopping sprees around the world and buy expensive cars every time they are released in the market. But after a while, the shopping sprees and the expensive cars would be exasperating and eventually would incur debts. In all likelihood, I would not rationally act on this maxim in such a world.
Step 2: form an opinion
What would Kant probably have said about Whitey Basson (or you) earning ZAR 620,000,000.00? Kant would probably have said that it is highly unethical and immoral for Whitey Basson or any person to earn ZAR 620,000,000.00 for a year’s in such a world. Kant always followed the Imperative Categorical “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law.” This simply means that you do the right thing because it is right in attitude with no allusion to your specific conditions. It is ridiculous for anyone to earn more than 700 times than his average employees, even though he built the company from ZAR 1000 000 to multibillion corporation that Shoprite group is today.
It is morally wrong for anyone to have their income increase with more than 2000% in a country where inequality is such a huge problem. Yes the company is paying for his top skills but everyone that works at Shoprite also contributed to making Shoprite the success it is programmed Luxurious today and they are not receiving any share of the profits the company is making. Kant would not have agreed with such an amount as it fails the rules of universal law.
What do you think of Whitey Basson (or you) earning ZAR 620,000,000.00? I think that is outrageous and unethical for Whitey Basson or me to earn ZAR 620,000,000.00 when there so many people who are unemployed in the country. I would rather the company create more jobs and be mo socially responsible.
Why do you think this?
South Africa is one of the countries with the highest unemployment rate and inequality. A lot can be done to improve our country and economy with this money. There are lot of homeless people in the country and people living in informal settlements and yet in such a country there are people earning ZAR 620,000,000.00. I strongly think that Whitey Basson or anyone should not earn such an absurd salary and I believe that it is extremely immoral.
In the list sources consulted:
Workers to fight for living wage: Cosatu: 2011. [O]. Available: http://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/news/workers-to-fight-for-living-wage-cosatu-1.1131742#.VO8PIl2vMZk Accessed on 2015/27/02
Carte, D. Executive remuneration: 2011. [O]. Available: http://www.moneyweb.co.za/moneyweb-corporate-governance/whitey-is-sas-top-earning-executive–again Accessed on 2015/27/02