Ethics defines what is right and what is wrong based on what is socially acceptable. In the discussion of whether the ends justify the means or whether the means justify the ends especially in regards to business, one of the essential elements to note is the general good of the people. For example, the selling of new products such as medicine might be illegal since such products go through lengthy legal-check processes before they can be released to the market. If the products can be used to help people deal with various ailments and the legalization process is taking longer than expected, the best way to go about it is to make it accessible to those in need. However, the people providing medicine should be ready to face the consequences of breaking the law and should be prepared to follow the right procedure which might help reduce the time taken for the medicine to reach the general public as it is an essential commodity. People have duties others and duties to themselves; this can be defined as the responsibility of not engaging in activities that may either harm them individually or other people.
The Immanuel Kant's theory states that there exists a set of rules that guide people on what they are supposed to do in different situations (De George 64). Kant uses the concept of imperative to describe various scenarios. Hypothetical imperative describes things that people have to do but only in certain circumstances. For example, people have to take medicine when sick. However, when people take medication when they are not ill, it is referred to as drug abuse, and it might potentially harm them. Categorical imperative refers to something people have to do all the time. In the business world, business people are expected not to tell lies with the intention of keeping their businesses afloat. Ethics are based on both rights and duties. Ethics in regards to rights is defined as justified claims against others and is intended to make people feel as free as possible while duties in ethics ensure people are not mistreated.
Though people have rights to do whatever they want with their property, these rights should not interfere with the rights of other people. In the business world, this is addressed under the libertarian ethics. For example, a river might be passing through land owned by a private company. The company might decide to release their waste products in the waterway which might kill the fish in the river. Also, the company might release dangerous waste gases into the atmosphere. Such a company leads to the destruction of the environment. The people living nearby are forced to suffer the consequences due to poor waste management decisions of the company. According to libertarianism, the freedom of people to do whatever they want with what they own does not come before the demands of other people. Therefore, such unmanaged waste disposal is illegal.
In conclusion, based on the approach where the end justifies the means, the overall results are used to prove that the process of achieving the results was right despite not initially gaining acceptance from a legal or societal perspective. Where the means justifies the end, people should be willing always to follow the rules no matter what the consequences are. However, what determines the acceptance of both scenarios is the willingness to be truthful on a personal or business perspective.
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