Ethics Town Hall 3This image is currently unavailable PurposeOur objective here is to evaluate the extent to which businesses are responsible for the impacts of their products, services, and operations on consumers andtheir communities.This image is currently unavailable DirectionsThe opening statement and rebuttal have different due dates.This image is currently unavailableDebate Topic:Our case study for this debate is the Thierer reading on autonomous vehicles (“robot cars”). Suppose that a nationwide adoption of computer-guideddriverless vehicles would result in a massive overall annual reduction in road fatalities, saving thousands of lives. But suppose that, in order for this to bepossible, individual passengers will have to relinquish control over how vehicles respond to impending accidents, possibly sacrificing the life of onepassenger to save a greater number of others involved in the crash. This tradeoff would save many more lives than would be sacrificed. And because theentire system would be automated, no one involved in any crash would be responsible for causing it. Your question is: should society implement this system?Why or why not? Spell out your reasons.Please read the debate guidelines (Links to an external site.).Read the tips for debate:Wilson, J. (2016, August 22). Debate tips: A few tips for those daily arguments you get into (Links to an external site.).National Speech and Debate Association. (n.d.). Debate training guide. (Links to an external site.)Opening StatementRespond to the debate prompt. Explain your position on the question posed and justify your stance by providing reasons and evidence in the clearest termspossible. Please add “Opening Statement” in the first line of the post.RebuttalsPlease respond to at least one classmate’s opening statement. Explain and justify your reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with their position and thereasons for it they gave.Please post your opening statement and rebuttal by clicking the Reply button below. The rebuttals should be posted as replies to other students’ openingstatements.Module 7 Ethics of ConsumerismOverviewIn this module, we take a close look at the extent to which businesses are responsible for the impact of their products, services, and operations onconsumers and their communities. We will find that issues of ethical leadership incumbent upon stakeholders arise on all sides of these relationships.Learning ObjectivesUpon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:Practice nuanced dialogue around ethical responsibility in a leading industry.Begin to reflect from a philosophical standpoint on the role and value of legal regulations on emerging technologies.Weigh and balance the competing goods of public health, private profit, and consumer rights.Key ConceptsThis module focuses on the following major topics:Ethical problems of risk and responsibility within the insurance industryLiability ethics around the transformative, emerging technology of automated vehiclesA practical case study raising ethical questions about protecting vulnerable persons from harmful productsSummary of Module Learning ActivitiesThis section outlines the activities that you will complete in this module. It is recommended that you complete the readings in the module prior to submittingthe assignments.ReadingsAll readings below that are listed with page numbers are in our Ciulla et al. reader.One key concept to focus on in Huber’s essay is tort liability. Tort law, Huber explains, “is the law of accidents and personal injury.” It is used to adjudicate theconflicts over rights and responsibilities that arise when things go wrong. Someone has to step in and assign blame for harms caused by some to others insociety. Courts provide this service. Tort law therefore aims to protect people’s rights and resolve disputes in a reasonable manner using fair procedures.So far, so sensible. But Huber claims that this area of litigation has ballooned since the 1960s to such proportions that it has become a massive net drain onour society’s financial and other resources.As you read and evaluate Huber’s argument, bear in mind the crucial distinction he draws between the concepts of contract/choice (“the realm of humancooperation”) and tort/coercion (“the realm of unchosen relationship and collision”) (p. 279).Another concept to reflect on as you assess Huber is “safety tax.” This is the tax he makes so much of in his provocative (and polemical) opening remarks.What is the significance of Huber’s decision to frame the impact of tort liability in terms of an invisible but costly tax? It is clearly a bit of a metaphor, since,as he points out himself, the safety-adjusted price attached to products and services under the current tort paradigm is not the result of legislation or publicreferenda. Is this metaphor misleadingor revealing? The same questions apply to Huber’s rhetorical framing of the transformation in tort law over a few decades since the 1950s as a “violentrevolution.”Huber argues that the “revolution” in tort liability has made itself felt not only around automobiles (perhaps the most obvious venue for costly accident risk)but also in the area of contraceptives, childhood vaccination, workplace safety. Consider each of these areas in turn, being mindful of how risk and benefitsenter into people’s dealings with each other in them. How would you map Huber’s distinction between “private choice” and “public choice” legal paradigmsonto these areas? Which paradigm seems the best fit for each area?Another key concept in Huber’s piece is strict liability. Huber locates the early origin of this expanded category of tort liability in a 1962 Supreme Court ruling.He defines strict liability as a “great leap” in the revolutionary “shift from consent to coercion in the law of accidents” (p. 281). Strict liability is a legalstandard whereby a party to a dispute is responsible for the consequences resulting from something they make or do even in the absence of negligence orcriminal intent. In the area of product liability, which is Huber’s focus here, strict liability means that providers of products or services are held responsible forany injury caused by those products or services without the finding of fault. This means businesses are held liable even in the absence of negligence orexplicit or implicit agreement to accept such responsibility. The increasing legal dominance of strict product liability has meant that liability for harm causedby accidents has been increasingly assigned to businesses in a wider range of cases.As you absorb Huber’s concluding remarks, consider whether you agree with his view that the triumph of the doctrine of strict liability in tort law represents amisstep in how we allocate responsibility for injury caused by accidents.
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