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â??Walmart will close 269 stores this year, affecting 16,000 workersâ?.
The consequences of the act in the long and short term are important to be considered by
utilitarian people to solve ethical dilemmas. Also, those consequences should seek the
reduction of pain and unhappiness, as well as the increase of pleasure and happiness.
In this business story, there is an ethical conflict between the following set of values:
â?¢ The decision of closing up stores and reducing jobs (it will represent a important decrease
of the company’s current workforce).
â?¢ The financial cost of keep paying wages when the company’s finances are going through
1. What is the ethical dilemma?
Should Doug McMillon, Walmartâ??s CEO have approved the reduction of jobs and closure of
stores to revitalize the company’s finances when the damage to employees was understood
2. Resolve the dilemma as though you are the agent and you are a utilitarian.
What are all of the categories of people who will be affected by the consequences of the
The categories of affected people in this case are: any Walmart employees whose
employment/wages/benefits are finished at the moment to loss their jobs so might be
affected by financial difficulties; the family members of the people who will lose their place
of employment; customer affected by the closure of their nearby stores since they will lose their
convenience; Walmart stockholders; any other groups of people who will be affected by the
effects of McMillonâ??s decision. The CEO has made a decision regardless the happiness of those
I just mentioned.
A utilitarian would then find numbers to correspond with each group, so an accurate
accounting of the happiness/pain or utility can be determined.
I would estimate and take a sample of one person who will lose his job. I will assume he is an
immigrant who has 2 children achieving their elementary education in the United States.
There are also 2 extended family members and 3 close friends that live under the financial
help of this person. Thus, there are in total 8 people including himself, that they all will be
unhappy because of the by financial difficulties this man will face if he loses his job.
Step 4: A utilitarian would then multiply each category by some factor of 1-10 units of
happiness or unhappiness, accounting for the intensity and duration of the
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest happiness one could experience, I will give a rating
of 10 units of happiness to each affected person. That is a total of 80 NET units of happiness
related to each person who lose his or her job. Walmart will make unhappy those people due to
its cost of keep paying wages when the company’s finances faces hard times. It means that
Walmart would experience only 1 NET unit of unhappiness from every new unemployed.
Step 5: Finally, a utilitarian would calculate the NET maximization of happiness/utility
or unhappiness/pain/lack of utility to determine which action will produce the
greatest happiness/utility or least amount of pain.
The NET maximization of happiness/utility or unhappiness/pain/lack of utility are the
estimated calculations presented above. We can see that there is a difference between the
units of happiness and unhappiness. Utilitarians pursue the best balance of benefits over
harms, so they would say that what it is ethical or the right thing to do in this case, is the CEO
should not approved the reduction of contracts and closure of stores to recover the
company’s finances, if that will produce a significant damage to all employees who will loss
their jobs due to his decision. Here no matter if the company will save money or will improve
it’s bottom line, because that will produce the highest amount of pain.
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