Ford officials even before the introduction of the Pinto car in the market, knew the likelihood that early Pinto gas tanks may rupture after a rear-end collision. Rather than install a part costing 16.65 to help prevent such an occurrence, the company officials performed a cost-benefit analysis of the situation and determined that a higher profit would be achieved from not installing the part in relation to any foreseeable harm that might be caused (The Ford Pinto Case, 2001). In short, Ford acted unethically in the Pinto case according to Rawl’s ethical theories.
Rawl’s Principle of Equal Liberty states that each person has an equal right to the most extensive liberties compatible with similar liberties for all (Egalitarian) whereas his Difference Principle states that social and economic inequalities should be arranged so that they are both (a) to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged persons, and (b) attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of equality of opportunity (John Rawls on Justice, 2002). “The first principle guarantees the right of each person to have the most extensive basic liberty compatible with the liberty of others and the second principle states that social and economic positions are to be (a) to everyone’s advantage and (b) open to all (John Rawls, n. d).
When we analyse the Ford Pinto case with respect to the Rawl’s ethical theories, it is evident that Ford violated both the Principle of Equal Liberty and the Difference Principle. For has safeguarded their interest only while keeping a blind eye towards the security of the least privileged ordinary people in the society. They were aware of the possible dangers this car may cause to the public, but after analysis they estimated that their profits might be much more even if they were forced to pay some thing as compensation if the car makes accidents. Under the above circumstances, the lawsuits similar to the one in Ford Pinto case should be allowed considering the deliberate violations of law by the profit greedy organizations. We should actively campaign against such violations in order to avoid such things in future. We should never purchase any products of such companies and we should isolate them from the market in order to provide lessons to other similar companies also. My ethical stands are not depending on the responsible persons or authorities, but it depends on the actions. So even if the government involved in the ownership of the car manufacturing companies, my ethical stands will remain the same as actions are important rather than which source it comes from.