argument can be made for positive answers to both questions especially the

Argument can be made for positive answers to both

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argument can be made for positive answers to both questions, especiallythe second one. In view of the developing public reaction against thesepractices, a unilateral move by an industry leader might have a signiH-canl impact on industry-wide practice or on the legal environment.In view of the opposing set of considerations exposed by a review ofconditions1through 4, the fifth condition becomes especially important.To what extent will your firm's withdrawal from this market be a victoryfor personal moral purity gained at the expense of a real and adverseimpact on college populations as a whole? Will your refraining frominvolvement in this area unavoidably cause a net and significant increasein irresponsible advertising and promotional activities by others whowill step into the place your departure creates?The answer to this question is itself unclear and probably cannot bedetermined apart from a specific investigation of the dynamics of thisindustry and the effect of your involvementversusthat of others. Never-theless, to this point, our analysis reveals several things. First, that thefifth condition may legitimately be introduced as a consideration in"Everyone's doing if-type situations. Members of the committee whourge this matter are not wrong to do so and there will be situations whensatisfying this condition will clearly justify complicity and continuedinvolvement in less-than-ideal practices. This situation may not be oneof them, however, and this illustrates a second point: that it is not enoughto claim the applicability of condition 5. One must show that it is satis-fied beyond reasonable doubt in order to justify involvement in practicesmarkedly violating other conditions. It is thoroughly predictable thatthose engaged in prevalent but undesirable conduct will seek to justifytheir doing so on the grounds that others' involvement will somehowincrease the net level of harm. In view of this, condition 5 must bethought to impose an especially severe constraint on decision-makers:they must show beyond reasonable doubt that their continued involve-ment helps avoid a significant level of increased harm, and they mustshow that the harm avoided clearly outweighs any immediate harms andrelevant encouragement or discouragement effects governed by condi-tions 2, 3 and 4.Is this stern standard met in this case? I personally think it is not. I am
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90 BUSINESS ETHICS QUARTERLYnot persuaded by the bare facts of this case that whatever positive effectsresult from this flrm's college marketing program really offset the immedi-ate injury inflicted on some college students by the stimulus to excessivealcohol consumption. Nor am I convinced that the powerful example of anindustry leader publicly withdrawing from involvement in these activi-ties,perhaps hand-in-hand with its assuming the role of leadership in anindustry-wide drive for self-restraint, would not in the long run proveeffective in reducing the harms associated with current practices.
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