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Consequences are important. Their significance raises them to a degree where they matter. The idea that justifies the act as ethical if the mass benefits from it, makes consequences even more significant. It does not matter why has a particular action been carried out, only if the results obtained increase the amount of happiness. However, the quality along with the quantity of the pleasure obtained also holds some value in this approach. The word happiness entails gratification and absence of pain here. If this idea is applied to our daily life situations, solutions to a lot of problems can be found. This is because the happiness of everyone counts the same.
For instance, if government officials take measures and make laws that benefit both the majority and minority of the country, then the quantity and quality of the happiness attained would outnumber the sorrow that may have been prevailing prior to the enforcement of the law. Another example is of a woman who lies to make sure that the rest of her family members stay happy and undisturbed. Her act of lying is justified, because more people are satisfied consequently. This normative approach helps eliminate real world problems such as discrimination, prejudice, etc. However, if looked upon through a different perspective, it will be found that this approach breaches the standard of justice. If we look at the same example stated above of the woman who lies to save her household from getting disturbed, we can question if she is doing justice with her family members by keeping them in dark. In the utilitarianism approach, the people share the principle of utility i.e., they all share the desire to be happy.
In this way, the act of murdering people is justifiable if the majority desires it and achieve satisfaction by committing it. Another drawback in this theory is that it only offers advantage to the majority, which means, the minority will always suffer. Say a man resides in a town where he is constantly being hated for several reasons. If the majority of the town comes together and file a case against him, and the judge of the town punishes him considering the greater good of the town, the innocent will be punished for doing nothing.
In order to maximise the happiness of the people who live in that town, the innocent man must face a consequence he does not deserve. Under the banner of this theory, many unethical acts would be labelled as ethical, and a lot of criminals would get away if they can get a significant amount of people to speak in favour of them. This approach is evidently prevalent in the political sector of many countries. It is no secret that the consequences are important. But it should also be remembered that consequences are not all that matter. There are other moral principles, religious virtues and human rights that speak against this idea, and hold relevant importance in considering a consequent as ethical or unethical.
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