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Warren Whitfield

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Is it right to profit from addiction? Is it right to profit from harm?

Is it right to profit from the sale of addictive products and services, specifically, from the portion of consumers who are addicted i.e. cannot control their consumption? Whilst morality is a subjective issue, the harm that is caused by this practice is measurable. Therefore is it right to profit from causing harm?

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  • Oct 2 2012: From an ethical perspective, I'd like to look at this issue based on the categorical imperative. The producers of harmful products are treating consumers merely as a means to an end; that "end" is profitability. One can argue for harmful producers by saying that the "greater good" is achieved by economic growth outweighing the harm done to consumers, but that is difficult to measure, and utilitarian arguments can get ugly (e.g. if you kill a person to steal their organs in order to save 4 other people).
    We can also conclude that it is wrong based on the intentions of the producers. Since we can assume that the producers know about the harm of their own products, we can conclude that the producers are harming the consumers intentionally; they make a choice to allow people to use their product knowing the consequences.

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