Read the Decision: Point Measuring Our Worth. Page 277.
This Decision Point deals with how we measure the intrinsic value of a life in addition to the instrumental value.
The scenario discussed is that of the Ford Pinto, which involves a decision that teaches the hazards of considering only the instrumental value of a life.
In 1968, Ford Motor Company made a historic decision regarding the Pinto, which was engineered with a rear gas tank assembly that had a tendency to explode in accidents that involved some rear-end collisions. The company allowed the Pinto to remain on the market after it determined that it would be more costly to engage in a recall effort than to pay out the costs of liability for injuries and deaths incurred.
In an infamous memo, Ford’s senior management calculated what the company would likely have to pay per life lost. It is noteworthy that these estimates were not Ford’s alone but were based on figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Using these figures, the costs for recalling and modifying the Pinto were $121 million, while the costs for settling cases in which injuries were expected to occur would be only about $50 million.
Write a 2 page, APA style paper considering the following questions when assessing this scenario:
- How should the decision-making process be handled.
- How should the intrinsic as well as the instrumental value of a human life be determined?
- Consider how you would measure your own worth or the value of someone close to you. Who are their stakeholders and what is their value to each of them? How will they measure it financially?
- How much would your stakeholders suffer if they lost you?
- How much do you currently contribute to society and what would society lose if you were not here?
- How much would society benefit if you continued to survive?