Whole Foods Market: Serving a Higher Purpose


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In conducting my research, I found several definitions of utilitarianism. For this paper, I will use the following definition: “utilitarianism states we ought to make the world as good as we can by making the lives of people as good as we can” (Bykvist, 1). Given this broad definition, we must define what is “good.” If the results of one’s actions create more benefits than alternative actions would, he or she is making the world and the lives of people good. Utilitarianism weighs the outcomes of each possible action in any given situation and it holds the view that “the goal of both personal ethics and public policy is to bring about a preponderance of benefit over harm to all who are affected by human actions” (Darity, 2008). Throughout my paper I will use a utilitarian lens to look at Whole Foods Markets (Whole Foods). More specifically I will examine: how does organic food agriculture and consumption create good in the world and in the lives of people? If organic food is determined to be utilitarian through my findings, in addition to selling natural and organic food, how does Whole Foods work to make the world as good as it can by making the lives of people as good as it can? Continue reading

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Wal-Mart’s Path of Destruction


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Utilitarian minds make their decisions based on which perceived outcome brings the most good[1] . That bears the question to how one can choose between two separate decisions that both have positive and negative benefits. An extreme and very common example of a utilitarian situation is if a person would be willing to take the life of one person in order to save 100 others that would perish if he did not follow through with the killing. A much more real example involves the retail giant Wal-Mart and their growth and effect on the American economy. Are lower wages more important to the consumers than a declining small business sector and sub-par working conditions for the Wal-Mart employees? Between the years of 2000 and 2005 Wal-Mart added over 1,100 stores and in 2004 their net sales were up to $276 billion[2] . An even more amazing stat is that in 2002, 82 percent of United States households purchased something from a Wal-Mart[3] . So what seems to be the problem if a majority of the population buys these goods that save them money for other and possibly more important expenses? The problem is that Wal-Mart comes into small towns and shuts down local businesses while at the same time treating their employees poorly and keeping their wages at miniscule rates. Workers fear standing up to the national giant for they squash any unions that attempt to come together and have shown they’re not against firing employees who disagree with the Wal-Mart way[4]. Wal-Mart’s destruction of local economies and poor working conditions for their employees greatly outweighs the good they do through offering low-priced consumer goods to the public. Their consistent attempts to stop unionization and keep benefits at a minimum for their workers is an injustice to the employees that are a necessity for Wal-Mart’s short and long term success. Continue reading

Actions Have Consequences


 

             The composition of the agricultural industry has changed tremendously over time.  New technology and corporations have impacted and changed the traditional culture of agriculture.  Farming with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has increased in popularity in the United States. Monsanto has revolutionized the agricultural industry through its genetically engineered seeds (Ferrell, Fraedrich, Ferrell, 304). Monsanto is a highly scrutinized corporation due to its infamous reputation for accusing farmers of patent infringement and its manipulation of dairy products through biotechnology processes. Continue reading