Ethical Issues In Cultural Relativism

926 Words4 Pages
Considering ethical concerns within a culture is not of the same caliber as considering ethical concerns among cultures globally. Cultures are each diverse with rich history and customs of their own. This paper discusses cultural relativism by responding to four questions based on the topic. The ethical issues surrounding the process of paying traffic tickets in Mexico City and in the US are a focal point. What is cultural relativism, and how does the vision of ethics associated with it diverge from the traditional ethical theories? The ethics of cultural relativism are different than traditional ethical theories mainly because cultural relativism dismisses morality. Cultural relativism is named so because the ethics of different cultures…show more content…
154). Traditional ethics revolve around universal ideals such as perennial duties, duties to one’s self, and duties to others (Brusseau, 2012, p. 55-56). The divergence between the two comes from traditional ethics pertaining to the greater good of people globally, whereas cultural relativism does not judge one culture’s ways as better or worse than others. For cultural relativism, ethics within a culture is not problematic, but expanding the idea of what is ethical or not ethical becomes problematic when comparing many cultures. The Mexico City process of getting and paying off a traffic ticket is different from the process in other countries. What values and advantages can be associated with the process in Mexico City? How can it be justified in ethical terms? In ethical terms, the Mexico City process of paying off a traffic ticket is justified by cultural relativism since that action is the social consensus. The entire police department and the general public are aware of what is going on and consider it acceptable. Advantages of this bribery system are economic. People who would’ve paid traffic tickets get to keep their hard-earned money (less the ~$5 bribe) and stimulate the economy with it. Another…show more content…
How can it be justified in ethical terms? In the US, bribes to police officers or government workers is illegal. The social consensus is to abide by the law and pay the traffic ticket properly. The US process of paying traffic tickets is justified by traditional ethical theories like utilitarianism for example. The advantages of the US process is money from traffic violators funds not only government salaries but also government programs for and community programs for the public’s well-being. When a person violates a traffic law and is ticketed, they also accumulate points against their driving record. If enough points are accumulated, the person is reprimanded by either taking away their license for a period of time or some other action is carried out. This system helps to keep roads safe for other drivers. An officer handing out tickets and citizens paying them off legally works for the greater good of the people, a traditionally ethical point of view. How can the difference between the Mexico City process of getting and paying off a traffic ticket and the process in your country be converted into an argument in favor of the idea that cultural relativism is the right way to look at things? Does the argument convince
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