Example Of Utilitarianism

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Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory based on the “greatest happiness for the greatest number” principle. In other words, a utilitarian would deem any action right if it brings more “pleasure” than “pain” to a greater number of people. It is a popular theory because of the welfarism at its core- the desire to bring happiness to all sentient beings. However, upon examining it in our judicial system it becomes apparent welfarism has less to do with the happiness of society and more to do with how financially well the country is. Human rights are the minimum standard for a human being to live a dignifying life. Everyone has human rights on account of being human. They are egalitarian and universal- they are the same for everyone regardless…show more content…
For instance, some claim following the utilitarian theory one could disregard fairness. Examples for this are Kaplow and Shavell. In their book they try to prove fairness is an irrational desire by showing how imposing an unfair rule would affect society. They claim that if we factor the various costs and moral hazards we would still be better off with the unfair rule than with the fair one. What they fail to realize is, however, in a case where “welfarism” correlates with money, the fact they proved that by imposing unfairness, our society is “better off” financially is redundant. Indeed, by imposing an unfair rule which would remove safeguards in order to increase conviction rates, our system would spend less money on proving the guilt of the accused. One has to ask themselves then how fundamentally flawed our judicial system would be if it was centred on the kind of utilitarianism which says money is more important than people’s right to be judged…show more content…
It is a process, which best describes the view of Kaplow and Shavell that by imposing an unfair rule society would be “better off”, in regards to money. The plea bargain appears mutually beneficial- the guilty get a lesser sentence and the system saves money from a trial that never was. The rate of the guilty plea has been 70% of all convictions ever since 2008 . However, those who use the plea bargain are not always guilty and Jed S. Rakoff offers a reason for this. In his article “Why Innocent People Plead Guilty” he shows how power is unequally divided between the convicted and the prosecutor, who could “dictate the sentence by how he publicly describes the offense”. The example Rakoff gives is also worth noting. In 2012 in the USA the average sentence for federal narcotics for defendants who plead guilty was five years and four months, while the average for those who went to trial was sixteen
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