Ethics are a system of principles that help us tell right from wrong, good from bad. Ethics are important in guiding us in the choices we make in our everyday life. Without ethics, our globalized world would be even more chaotic than it already is. Businesses would fail, our economy would shrink, crime would increase. In other words, we live in a world of laws based on ethics.
Most work done so far on Global Ethics builds upon various observations of already existing ethical theories. Utilitarianism, the most authoritative form of consequentialist ethics founded by J. Bentham, is based on the principle of utility which states to “always act so as to maximize the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people.” In other words, an action is right if it produces the “greatest good for the greatest number”. J. S. Mill also supported this foundation of morals and legislation.
What I found particularly interesting here, is the idea that our happiness combined together determines whether an action is right or wrong. Even though, it has been criticized for several centuries due to the fact that it creates a problem of justice by excluding minorities’ opinions, doubt about consequences, subjectivity, and further justifies illegal acts (e.g. torture) to attain the happiness of others, I do support utilitarianism as the best ethical theory learned so far. I believe that it provides a democratically valid morality which expands overall happiness, and further promotes humanitarian acts by putting other people’s happiness as first priority. I strongly agree with this because I believe that we should not act selfishly in life. While life is rather short, it is important to do good, think about others in society and be warmhearted.
A relevant example is to think to what extent should people be allowed to pollute our environment? Our modern world uses more and more disruptive technology that still causes harm to our surroundings and health. For this reason, I believe it is important to find the right balance between the economic good it creates with the wrong it does to our future generations. I would not say that you should not pollute at all or pollute as much as you wish, which are the two extremes, but rather use the utilitarian approach by thinking about your neighborhood.