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BUSS 3053: International Management Ethics and Value - Blood for Sale - Case Analysis Assessment Answer

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Question:International Management Ethics and Value Case Analysis

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International Management Ethics and Value Assignment

Case Analysis Assignment Task

Blood for sale

  1. Tell me whether each of the following statements is descriptive or normative, and briefly explain your answer:

    1. 'Business went smoothly and profitably...'
    2. 'A commercialised system discourages voluntary donors.'
    3. 'No commercialised system of blood donation should exist.'
    4. 'Selling body parts, such as blood or kidneys, raises a number of ethical concerns.'

  2. Assess the morality of a commercialised market in blood from the point of view of:

    1. egoism
    2. utilitarianism (act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism)
    3. deontology (Kant's ethics)

  3. In your view, which system of the distribution of blood is better—the US system or the non-commercial systems in Australia, New Zealand, or the British NHS? Explain in some detailwhyyouconsider your preferred system to be morally superior.How did you arrive at this moral judgment?You can—but do not have to—refer back to Q2 in your answer.
  4. Briefly comment on the suggestion that context matters in all ethical decision making, including your moral reasoning process in this case. What specific context, for example, may be important in this case?Is the acknowledgement that 'context matters' equivalent to a belief in ethical relativism?

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Solution:

PART 1: Illustration whether these statements are descriptive or normative

  • Business went smoothly and profitably

This statement is descriptive. It describes what people think about the business of selling blood and plasma. Descriptive ethics depicts the beliefs people hold on what is moral (Statache et al. 2015, p. 49). It is dependent on consumers’ perception of the idea and associated actions.

  • A commercialized system discourages voluntary donors

The statement is normative because it attempts to direct how people should act, morally speaking. Normative ethics tries to determine the rightness or wrongness of actions (Plunkett & Sundell 2013, p. 57). It is based on the determination of the moral standards that may seek to define whether selling blood should be considered as a business. The statement is concerned with establishing whether it is ethical to think of blood and plasma trade as a business. The underlying message in the statement is that blood should not be commercialized because it will discourage voluntary donors. However, the morality of valuing the product hence reducing misuse or unwarranted acquisition of blood supplies remains a major concern.

  • No commercialized system of blood donation should exist

The statement is normative as it tries to suggest the moral direction that people should take regarding commercialization of blood systems. Although it does not give reasons, it indicates that blood systems should not be commercialized. It presents the reasoning behind the ethical needs of not placing commercial importance to blood supplies. Attaching commercial importance to blood donation systems may introduce the monetary incentive, hence, potentially affecting the quality and quantity of blood available (Civaner, Balcioglu & Vatansever 2016, p. 10).

  • Selling body parts, such as blood or kidneys, raises a number of ethical concerns.

The statement is descriptive. It indicates that there is a moral concern concerning the sale of body parts. It implies that, according to some moral standards, the sale of body parts may be unethical. Most practitioners hold the opinion that commercialization of health access may reverse gains made in the industry (Civaner, Balcioglu & Vatansever 2016, p. 10). Descriptive ethics illustrate that something could be moral or immoral according to what certain people believe.

PART II: Assessment of the morality of a commercialized market in blood from the point of view of:

  • Egoism

Basing the argument on the descriptive variant of egoism whose philosophy is that people act in their self interest, a commercialized blood market would be moral. The patients who buy the blood act to save their own lives. The agents, who are the business people, also act to make their profits from the needs of the patients. The donors, on the other hand, sell their blood to benefit themselves financially. Therefore, in this system, all the participants have self-interests. However, one or more parties may act to fulfill their interests, albeit at the expense of another (Szabo, Szolnoki & Czako, 2013). For example, the business people may take advantage of a person in need of blood to sell it to them at a price they wish. Similarly, a wealthier person, in an act of self-interest, may pay a higher price to obtain blood at the expense of a less wealthy person in need of the same blood. Therefore, based on Egoism, commercialization of a blood market is moral.

  • Utilitarianism (act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism)

In the context of act-Utilitarianism, commercialization of blood may be moral because individual acts of sales of blood may end with positive results such saving a life. Also, the donor, as well as the business person, may benefit financially. It is unlikely that an individual act of blood sale may result in a negative consequence. On the contrary, in the context of Rule Utilitarianism, commercialization of blood may cause altruism to wither and consequently make relief blood unavailable or unaffordable. Various philosophers have argued that such actions as the commercialization of organs have the overall effect of discouraging voluntary donors from giving organs (Hoeyer, Schicktanz & Deleuran, 2013; Manzano et al., 2014). On this basis, commercialization of blood would lead to negative consequences and is, therefore, immoral.

  • Deontology (Kant's ethics)

In the context of Kantianism, commercialization of blood can barely be moral. In such a case, the donors do not give blood to fulfill a duty to save lives, but rather to gain profit. Similarly, vendors sell the blood to make profits, but not to save lives. Although the recipients may buy the blood to save their lives, which is their duty, they may hurt others in the process. For instance, if there is competitive demand for blood, a wealthier buyer may prevent a less wealthy buyer from saving their life. If one must fulfill their moral duty, they should not obstruct another from fulfilling theirs (Jackson & Smith, 2016).

PART III: Comparing commercial and non-commercial blood systems

From the arguments available, the non-commercial systems in Australia, New Zealand and the British NHS are better than the commercial US system. First, neither system increases the demand for blood; but one of them may decrease the supply. If the argument that commercialization of blood may wither altruism is valid, then it can lead to lower blood supply as a result of reduced voluntary donors (Hoeyer, Schicktanz & Deleuran 2013, p. 14). Fewer people are willing to sell organs than give them up out of selfless interest which makes the commercial US system less efficient. On the other hand, the non-commercial systems may attract more voluntary donors, thereby increasing the availability of blood. This system also enhances equity in the distribution of blood because prices cannot bar one from access. This makes the non-commercial system better.

Morally speaking, the non-commercial system is morally superior because it helps to improve the lives of people needing blood without making that of others difficult. It does not segregate on the recipients or the donors. This moral judgment was arrived at by determining if the system satisfies morality according to Egoism, Deontology and Utilitarianism; which it does.

PART IV: Context matters in all ethical decision making. Discussion

According to Kantianism, context does not matter in ethical decision making. One has an absolute duty to fulfill, and that is what forms the basis of its morality (Ward 2013, p.38). However, according to Egoism and Utilitarianism, the context may define what is moral. For example, the consequence of a decision may be affected by the surrounding circumstances. Utilitarianism holds that this consequence, which is dependent on surrounding circumstances, defines morality.

A context that may be important in this case

A donor may give an organ with the intention of saving someone’s life. Then, through the bureaucracy, the recipient receives the organ at a fee. In this context the intention to donate the organ was good and was in an attempt to fulfill the donor's duty, which is ethical. However, when brokers become part of the process, the donor’s action may not be seen as an act to fulfill their duty but as an act to fulfill their interests (Manzano et al. 2014, p. 19).

The acknowledgment that "context matters”, is equivalent to a belief in ethical relativism. The belief that the morality of an action is determined by its context is equal to the idea that whether it is ethical depends on either the intention of the doer or the consequence caused by it.

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