Contemporary Management Issues
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Consequentialism refers to the moral theories which entail that the consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgment about that action hence from this standpoint a morally right action is one that produces good consequences and outcomes. This concept is distinct from deontology which derives the wrongness or rightness of an action from the character of the act itself rather than the outcomes of that particular action and also from virtue ethics which always focuses on the character of the agent rather than on the consequences or nature of the action itself and the distinction between these three morality approaches is that they tend to rely more on the way moral dilemmas are approached than in moral conclusions reached (Statman, 1993).
Screw caps have perception hurdles to overcome as they are associated with cheap wine, but many wine makers in USA and other countries are experimenting with them on selected wines and New Zealand being the leader in wine industry with over 26 wineries doing conversion to cap from cork while wineries in Spain, Australia, south Africa, South America, Canada, France and US are testing the capping trend also hence currently three ways of closing have been invented and include synthetic cork, natural cork, and screw caps. Natural cork closures allow for a bottle of wine to be corked hence a coked bottle develops a musty taste and smell that originates from Trichloroanisole (TCA) which is a substance used for sanitizing the natural cork prior to bottling thus results in a moldy, flat flavor devoid of fruit-filled aroma and taste and is estimated that over 5% of wines available on shelves of merchants have been become corked.
The synthetic corks on the other hand are derived from plastics and they appeared to be viable option as compared to traditional corks but, their track record has tarnished due to the their inability to curb oxidation for quality length of time hence short-changing the maturing process of select wines and decrease the shelving life of the wine. Therefore, the screw caps are the only capping materials that provide the best seals for bottled wines since it eliminate the oxidation and the corked problems as confirmed by Hogue Cellars who compared synthetic and natural cork closures and reported that there are major benefits in utilizing the screws caps over both the synthetic and the natural closures hence while screw caps diminish the romance and drama in bottle opening, it is also worth the sacrifice to ensure that wine is taint-free and consistent aging is achieved as well as the flavor and freshness is maintained with maximum control quality (Brad, 2002).
Producers like the Beringer, Boony Doon, Penfolds and Hogue Cellars appear to utilize Stelvin screw caps which has formed the industry’s cap closure of choice hence this trend should take hold more as wine enthusiasts and winemakers place less priority on corked tradition and higher on overall wine quality. Many wine makers currently believe that in order for wine to age well, it needs gradual exposure to oxygen hence are advocating for screw caps, while opponents argue that the alterations that take place in wine making do not really need oxygen. Also argue that Cork has been used for over 400 years, and many winemakers today still believe that in order to age well, wine needs gradual exposure to oxygen. Advocates of screw caps, on the other hand, argue that most changes that occur in winemaking don’t require oxygen (Darwall, 2002).
Another advantage of screw caps is that they are of lower cost as compared to the expensive natural cork and also accord winemakers’ peace of mind knowing that they would not have to deal with cork taint. Screws also allow wines to age at slower rates for example the Barrique Fermented Chardonnay, ages much slower hence they can be stored for longer without showing ugly signs of bottle age (Scheffler, 1994).
How the consequentialist ethic may be used by consumer groups in their opposition to the use of the metal screw tops instead of the traditional cork.
Cork is a perfect closure for wine and is a unique substance being a totally natural product and is environmentally friendly, recyclable, and renewable and is bridgeable. There is adequate cork today to last for 100 years in the forests of Portugal and also it’s now growing by 4% a year on average under the deforestation programs of Portugal.
A cork oak (Sobreiro or Quercus Suber in Portuguese) must be at least 25 years in order to produce cork hence a cork oak can stay for more than two centuries. The outer back is stripped from a cork oak once in every nine years to harvest the cork and the tree is protected from weather by an inner back which is always left on the tree, then the harvested back is boiled to purify, then they are punched to make corks. The cork industry has been truly sustainable and environmentally friendly and in Portugal for instance, the protection of cork by law has resulted in thousands of protected forests being planted and in return these forests have protected thousands of species of plants, animals and birds and also the cork industry sustains more than 15,000 employees in the remote interiors (Bernard, 1993).
Many places in Australia and Europe have programs for wine cork recycling hence users have designated areas of dropping the corks, where they would be picked, granulated and then turned into products like tiles, engines gaskets, pin boards, hockey balls, boat decks, safety mats etc and even in the recent past they have been used in rocket technology. Hence there is no reason to adopt screws which are hard to recycle while cork seems to be the easiest material to recycle and several US companies have engaged in cork recycling including the Hart and Yemm firms and have realized that cork is valuable resource that should not be wasted and have manufactured plaques, coasters, tack boards and floor tiles all made from wine cork.
Recycling of wine cork is very inexpensive and is simple and resemble recycling of soda canes and newspapers and entail creative means like donating them to children’s museums, for use in dioramas and displays, others make decorative pieces out of old corks and wreaths. They can also be glued to make sliced wine corks to form bottoms of knickknacks and vases while others suggest wiring together to make hot pads and are also useful as door stops, pin cushions, and knife scrubbers. Hence just as wine should not be wasted, neither should wine corks which are highly useable material through recycling and provides relieve from the packaging material that harm the earth and help stop wastefulness (Brad, 2002).
Some of the advantages of using wine cork as opposed to screw caps include the fact that they are renewal and natural products. They are also forest friendly and non-polluting since it promotes the forest conservation and cleanliness and does not destroy it. It also allow areas facing desertification to pick reforestation and it is chemically inert hence non-detrimental to health when it’s burnt since it does not release toxic emissions. Cork also is the lowest in thermal conductivity hence it is a good fire resistant substance. The cork bark is also harvested only once in every decade hence the trees are never damaged as a result of harvesting cork hence using cork keeps forest safe/alive (Bentham, 1996).
The ethical magazine researched on wine corks and concluded that withdrawal trends from natural cork towards the use of plastics and screw caps threatens not only livelihoods of estimated 25,000 people employed in cork industry, but also many endangered bird species and the cork trees in the forest. The European cork normally comes from Portugal and Spain and the areas where they are grown referred to as dehesas, are intertwined to many other species and their preservation is very important as campaigned by Birdlife International and RSPB (Mill, 1998).
The chemical composition and structure of cork is what grants it unique qualities of being 100% biodegrade and natural, they are also renewable raw material and is impermeable to gases and liquids. Cork is also buoyant i.e. light since it has a density of 0.2 and is resistant to penetration by humidity. It’s also compressible and elastic hence is able to reacquire its original form after undergoing pressure and therefore it’s the only solid that does not suffer lateral dilatation. Cork is also excellent in acoustic, anti-vibratic and thermal insulation and is resistant to tear and wear i.e. resistant to abrasion and has high friction coefficient. It is also fire retardant and does not absorb dusts hence prevent allergies.
The interior of cork is made up of honeycomb of tiny cells of suberin, complex acid and is filled with a mixture of gases identical to air hence this forms its secret for its high performance and its cell structure consist of suberin which is responsible for elasticity of cork, lignin which is an insulating compound forms 27%. Polysaccharides form the cell component and help to define texture of cork. Tannins are responsible for color while seroids guarantee the impermeability of the cork (James, 2008).
The merits of the consequentialist ethic given that it is able to support both sides of the same argument.
This consequentialist moral theory gives heavy weight on the consequences when evaluating the wrongness or rightness of an action hence in this theory consequences of a rule or actions outweigh other considerations and addresses issues such as the sought count as good consequences, the primary beneficiaries of the moral action, and who judges them and also how are they judged.
Consequentialism is divided by the types of consequences that count as good states of affairs i.e. that are taken to matter most hence according to hedonistic utilitarianism, a good action is one that results in increase in pleasure and is closely related with eudemonic consequentialism which believes that a full flourishing life which results from enjoying pleasure or not should be the ultimate goal. The aesthetic consequentialism is one in which the main aim is to produce beauty and does not fix on psychological goals as relevant thus one might pursue an increase in political liberty and material equality instead of more ephemeral pleasures therefore Consequentialist theories have several applications for example Richard Mullender, suggests that they provide foundation and a rationale for a new understanding of social democracy (Trianosky, 1997).
The consequentialist theory is unable to define if an act is right or wrong decisively since the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by its outcomes and only define those actions as moral conducts if they promote greatest happiness (Dragunoiu, 2007). The consumers would therefore gain according to [“Fleurs du Mal,” Niala Maharaj and Donovan Hohn, 2001] who claim that people benefit from the stable jobs in cork industries, extended benefits, above average pay, as proved by International Labor Organization hence workers receive benefits as pensions, medical and dental assistance, transportation, child care etc and also receive one and half times the minimum wage requirement.
The beneficiaries base their support on the fact that there is positive consequences of trading in cork industry and also Portugal trades with counties who have stringent and clear legislations on agro-chemical products and are making enormous efforts to promote safe handling and practices on pesticides applications and cultivate in a sustainable manner which has been defined by Gibson in 2005 that sustainability must attempt to integrate consideration of the relevant economic, social, and ecological factors in order to improve the human survival on planet hence it’s a matter of ensuring viability and fulfilling livelihoods from generation to generation and applies to communities all over. Also by providing cork which has been cultivated in a sustainable manner hence would help developing and poor West African countries to improve their economies and provide job opportunities which are a Consequentialism ethic. Also research has shown that cork from Africa use less energy overall than those produced in Europe (Seager, 2007) and it employs 500,000 people directly and 1 million through auxiliary services. These researches also reveal that continued consumers support to the supply chain to provide natural cork is consequentialist ethic since it does not cause more environmental damage and also because they respect ISO 14001 i.e. international environment systems and standards (Cottingham, 1996).
Deontologists relied on groundwork of metaphysics of morals for many years for discussion of Kant’s moral theory and the emergence of virtue ethics has caused many deontologists to re-examine Kant’s other works, hence the metaphysics of morals, religion and anthropology have become important sources of inspiration for the roles of virtue in deontology. The Kantian virtue is similar to Aristotelian virtue and therefore in metaphysics of morals, Kant stresses the importance of habituation, education, and gradual development and these ideas have been used by modern deontologists to illustrate plausibility of common sense of the theory. The main role of virtue as for Kantian, and appropriate character development, is that a virtous character help one formulate appropriate maxims for testing, hence Kantian virtue remains rather dissimilar from other conceptions of virtue.
These differences are based on the fact that Kantian struggles against emotions on whether these emotions should be eliminated or subjugated, hence for Kant, moral worth comes only from the duty of motive that struggles against inclination which varies from the Aristotelian picture of harmony between desire and reason. Also there is no weakness of will for Kantian as understood in Aristotelian sense of distinction between continence and incontinence. Kant always concentrate on fortitude of failure and will and to do so is self-deception and finally Kantians need to give account of relationship between virtue as occurring in empirical world and the Kant’s remarks about moral worth in noumenal world which contradict between ideas in ground works and in other works (Dent, 1984).
Consequentialist claim that virtue is not valuable in itself, but rather valuable for the good consequences it brings about and they have found a role for virtue as a disposition that tends to promote good consequences hence consumers should cultivate virtous dispositions since such dispositions will tend to maximize utility. Some other consequentialist such as Driver, have gone further to argue that knowledge is unnecessary for virtues hence this has become a radical departure from the Aristotelian account of virtue. Incorporation of virtue ethics and Consequentialism is being done by rival accounts to respond to challenges raised and is resulting in exciting and fruitful work being done within this philosophical area (McDowell, 1996).
Virtue ethics encompasses various different theories and focuses on central role of concepts like virtue and character in philosophy of morals and these virtue ethicists take inspiration from Aristotle and elements of Plato, Aquinas, Nietzsche, and Hume and define ethics to have originally called for changes from the dominant normative theories of Consequentialism and deontology (Scanlon, 1998).
The aretaic moral theories like the virtue ethics are contrasted with the Consequentialism, whereas the virtue ethics insist that character should be the focal point rather than consequences, the consequentialist pose that consequences of actions should be primary focus of thinking on ethics. Also some virtue ethicist believe that consequentialism disregard totally the importance and development of moral character. Hence the virtue ethics and consequentialism should be understood as completely antagonistic and that consequentialist can consider character in various ways e.g. the impact on an agent’s character may be regarded as relevant consequence and similarly the same theory may aim to maximize a particular virtue hence one may finally adopt a Consequentialism which argues that virtuous actions ultimately results in best consequences (Swanton, 2003).
Deontological and consequentialist theories have been challenged by virtue ethicists as they fail to accommodate virtuous insights and they rely on one principle/rule that is expected to apply to all diverse situations and also their principles are inflexible and cannot accommodate complexity of all moral situations that people encounter (Hursthouse, 1995).
The virtuous responses cannot be captured in a principle which an agent can learn virtuously hence knowing virtue is a matter of sensitivity, experience, ability to practically reason, and the ability to perceive and also take long time to develop. The principle that ethics cannot be captured in one rule is referred to as the uncodifiability of ethics and actually ethics is too imprecise and diverse to be captured in rigid codes hence morality should be approached in situation-responsive and flexible hence virtue ethics has emerged as rival for Consequentialism and deontology and it developed from dissatisfaction with notions of obligation and duties and their centralized roles in understanding morality. It also developed due to objection to use of rigid moral principles /rules and their application of diverse moral situations. Virtue ethics on other hand makes a claim on central role character and virtues in understanding moral life and uses it to provide explanations on the kind of person/corporation that it should be, how one should live etc i.e. they are virtue ethics that are character-based, Kantian theories are agent-based while the consequentialist theories are based on outcome (Rorty, 1980).
Acting in accordance with reason i.e. acting virtuously, refers to acting in the manner that characterizes human nature and would result to eudaimonia which means the possessor benefits from the virtues hence one might think that the morality demands would with one’s self interests, but eudaemonist virtue ethics presents a varying picture that human nature is such that virtue is quintessential component for flourishing in human beings and is not exercised in opposition to self-interest. The life of virtue is good life for humans hence its man’s interests to be virtuous and not just because virtues lead to good life of rewards but rather because the exercise of virtue and rational capacities is its own reward (Driver, 2001).
Michael Slote on the other hand has developed an account of virtue based on common sense intuitions on character traits which are admirable hence, he differentiates between agent-based and agent-focused theories stating that the later understands the moral life in terms of what it is to be virtuous, where the virtues are inner dispositions like those of Aristotle while the agent-based are more radical in that their evaluation of actions is dependent on ethical judgments about the inner life of the agents who perform those actions and there are a variety of admirable human traits including kindness, benevolence, compassion, etc and are identifiable by looking at people we admire/moral exemplars (Sherman, 1997).
The Ethics of Care is another influential version of virtue ethics which have been developed by feminist writers, like Annette Baier, and is motivated by the fact that woman think in feminine terms such as caring whereas men think in masculine terms such as autonomy and justice hence these theorists call for change on how we perceive virtues and morality and the, shifting towards virtues expounded by women, such as patience, taking care of others, self-sacrifice, ability to nurture etc. The society has not valued women contributions adequately and as a result these virtues have been marginalized and there is much in their discussions of the specific virtues and their relation to moral education and social practices etc which is pertinent in virtue ethics (Hooker, 2000).
There exist other writers developing other ethic theories including Christine Swanton who has developed the pluralist account of virtue ethics which has connection with Nietzsche theory which emphases the inner self and provides possible response to calls for better understanding of moral psychology. Swanton has developed an account on self-love that allow individual to distinguish true virtues from closely related vices like vicious and virtous forms of perfectionism, self-confidence from ostentation or vanity etc hence corporations should use these ideas of expression and creativity to show how different modes of acknowledgement are appropriate to the virtues. Other accounts of virtues have developed over centuries in societies like the Homeric virtues which consumers should understand which determine the standard of excellence from within a particular society and accountability which is determined by one’s role in society and also one’s worth which is comparative to others and competition is also crucial in determining one’s worth.
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