1. Aaron Feuerstein became something of an overnight national hero by protecting his workers. Feuerstein said, “It was the right thing to do and there’s a moral imperative to do it, irrespective of the consequences.”
a. Was Feuerstein employing utilitarian or formalist reasoning? Explain.
2. Commenting on Feuerstein’s approach to his employees’ needs, Wharton School professor Michael Useem said, “ The thinking is: employees can be seen as an ultimate competitive advantage. If you treat them well, they’ll pay you back in really hard work later on.”
a. Was Useem expressing formalist or utilitarian reasoning?
b. In a 1986 pastoral letter, the U. S. Catholic bishops argued that “every economic decision and institution must be judged in light of whether it protects or undermines the dignity of the human person.” Does the thinking summarized by Useem undermine that dignity and as such require rejection under either utilitarian or formalist reasoning? Explain.
3. If you were a successful entrepreneur with the flexibility of Aaron Feuerstein, would you operate your business like an extended family? Explain.
Fabric manufacturer Malden Mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, provided 3,100 high-paid manufacturing jobs in the Boston area when a 1995 fire destroyed most of the plant. The next morning Aaron Feuerstein, CEO of the family-controlled mill, announced that the business would be rebuilt and all employees would retain their jobs. Feuerstein said that keeping all of the workers through the rebuilding process was “the right thing to do and there’s a moral imperative to do it, irrespective of the consequences.” Apparently, Feuerstein was significantly influenced by his Jewish heritage. In his youth, Feuerstein reportedly memorized in Hebrew the Leviticus passage: “You are not permitted to oppress the workingman because he is poor and needy.”

  • CreatedOctober 02, 2015
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