Complete 2 pages APA formatted article: Punishment as the Main Deterrent for Wrongdoing. 1. Whether the end justifies the means should be determined in terms of the harm done by the immoral act as opposed to the ultimate good resulting from it. If a poor person for example robs a pharmacy in order to keep a sick child from dying, this can surely be justified in terms of saving a human life. According to current moral standards, human life is precious and must be preserved. The pharmacy is not significantly harmed, as it has insurance against robbery and nobody was injured during the robbery. The end therefore sometimes does justify the means if harm is sufficiently insignificant and the good sufficiently justified.
2.Punishment as the main deterrent for wrongdoing is a viewpoint encouraged by the religious orientation towards morality. As such, one could say that it is true that punishment deters wrong actions to some degree, although this is not the case in all situations or for all human beings. I believe that a person’s sense of “wrong” has a variety of sources, and so does deterrence. Humanity today for example increasingly operates on the basis of altruism – doing right because it is for the good of others. By helping others, a person gains a sense of fulfillment that cannot be derived from acting selfishly or from doing wrong. I would therefore rather take Kant’s wider viewpoint, that a sense of right and wrong is derived from individual experience, which may or may not include punishment and/or the religious ideal.
3.I would not say the needs of either society or the individual outweigh the other, particularly in the current paradigm of human rights and the individual’s right to happiness and freedom. Society should never be allowed to suppress the needs of the individual, because this is in direct contradiction to the human rights paradigm favored by the democratic world today. Although Jeremy Bentham’s philosophy of justifying decisions by the number of people benefiting from it makes scientific sense, I would rather agree with John Stuart Mill’s caution that majority rule could deprive many citizens of important rights. Slavery appears to be a case in point.
4.From the humanistic and altruistic point of view, economic resources should be owned and controlled by communities. In this way, the resources can be shared among all those sharing a community, without factors such as greed ruling the economy. On the other hand, Adam Smith believed that self-interest is an ideal economic principle that all should be free to pursue. According to him, self-interest translates to overall economic well-being, as all business people were interested in delivering quality services and goods in return for fair remuneration. Smith’s system of built-in checks and balances were to prevent an imbalance of wealth creation for only a few companies. However, history has taught that this system is not strong enough to prevent the extreme greed and monopoly that marks today’s economy. The gap between the extremely rich and the extremely poor is widening on a global scale, with a disproportionate amount of humanity using all the earth’s resources. This sector of society deprives not only today’s poor of their right to life, but also the generations to come. From this point of view, I believe a sharing economy is better than one in which monopoly is the main paradigm.
5.And individual’s actions can sometimes have unforeseen consequences, regardless of the good intentions behind these actions. Too often friendships are destroyed because those affected only consider the consequences rather than the intentions of the initiator. A friend might for example try to help another friend to find romance and arrange a “blind” date to this end. The person believes that the date is perfect for the friend and the intention behind the action is good. However, the outcome is that the two persons meeting each other do not at all enjoy each other’s company. This result then overshadows the initial good intention and the friendship could be ruined. I therefore believe that intentions should carry at least as much weight as outcomes.