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Questioning The Effectiveness Of Affirmative Action Policies

2384 words - 10 pages

This essay will analyze and thoroughly examine the ethics of affirmative action. At first, a short
explanation of the issue under discussion will be given as to help the reader understand what is this
essay all about. Along with this explanation, the relevance to the business world will be stated. Furthermore, the essay will approach the ethical problem both from a consequentialist and a
non-consequentialist standpoint. These two perspectives will be interpreted by taking Mill's utilitarianism as an example of the former and Kant's categorical imperative as an example of the latter.
Finally, a personal analysis of the issue under discussion will be established and a conclusion as well. Briefly, the essay will argue that affirmative action can be defined as a good public policy as it can lead to beneficial and constructive outcomes.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, affirmative action is the controversial issue that will be analyzed in this essay. Many ethical discussions are eroded when people do not understand what it is they are discussing and they may in some cases operate under dissimilar understanding of the same notion. Therefore, it is essential to take the time to define the term - affirmative action. This term is used to describe the policy of giving exclusive options and showing preference to individuals who are part or have been part of unfavorable circumstances such as suffering from discrimination. The issue with affirmative actions is that some people regard it as to redress racism and reverse the outcomes of discrimination. Others see it as another form of discrimination, providing one group exclusive opportunities based upon their skin color. Essentially, the issue portrays the conception and the approach towards the other by bringing upon historical facts and the notions of discrimination and underrepresentation. That being said, the issue with affirmative actions is well-known in the
business world as it was first used by President Kennedy, in 1961, to guarantee that candidates were hired, and that personnel were treated during working hours, without regard to their race, skin color or origin (McKenna 196).

The ethical issue of affirmative action can be approached from a consequentialist and a non-consequentialist point of view. In order to facilitate the understanding of these two standpoints we must recognize Mill's utilitarianism and the problems of appeasing justice and autonomy principles in such theory. We must also recognize Kant's notion of the categorical imperative. John Stuart Mill defines the notion of utilitarianism as being “the principle of utility or the greatest happiness principle – choose the action that creates the greatest happiness for all concerned” (Mill 34). In this case, happiness is defined as pleasure and the absence of pain. This theory has two forms: act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. The difference between these two forms is that one says that we should perform the act and the...

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