Monsanto Ethics Case Study

1545 Words7 Pages
I am writing you in response to the unethical practices conducted by your business. These actions presently include abuse of Supreme Court loophole to generate revenue, aggressive intimidation tactics used as part of your patent enforcement strategy, monopolistic acquisitions, and use of legal resources to influence consumer’s abilities to make informed decisions regarding their consumption of food. Further, the company continues to fail to properly address its harms of the past, including producing two of the world’s most deadly chemicals and exposing the public and employees to these toxic substances. Your company’s tremendous scale and accumulation of resources continues to allow it to exert undue political and legal pressure to benefit…show more content…
One may analyze a company’s actions based on their consequences. This is an ethical approach championed by 19th century philosopher John Stuart Mill referred to as utilitarianism. Under utilitarianism, an individual or organization should “choose the alternative that is likely to produce the greatest overall good” (Halbert and Ingulli, 1). Through this moral paradigm, one sees that many of Monsanto’s actions fail to achieve the greatest overall good. One reason for this failure is the market failure of negative externalities. Externalities are “costs or benefits arising from an economic activity that affect somebody other than the people engaged in the economic activity and are not reflected fully in prices” (Kowal, 1). As such, the existence of negative externalities implies that the greatest good is not being created. This is because nobody is being appropriately compensated for negative effects of an economic activity. Some of the greatest externalities of Monsanto’s actions include long-lasting pollution of land and water ways; eroding public trust in government, corporations, and scientists; loss of jobs within the farming industry; and wasted legal fees. As a result, the value that Monsanto creates for its own employees and shareholders does not outweigh the costs associated with its reckless…show more content…
It is possible to argue from a utilitarian perspective, for example, that Monsanto’s antagonistic treatment of customers may be justified given the potential negative consequences of long-term of patent infringement on Monsanto’s ability to fund research and conduct business. However, one must also consider the uniqueness of seeds relative to more standard goods such as clothing or books. Seeds are self-regenerating. As a result, Monsanto’s patents lead to excessive waste of seeds, resulting in higher produce prices for end consumers and lower profits for farmers, simply so that Monsanto can increase
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