Discussion On Whether An Ethical Egoist Would Consider The Issues Surrounding Alberta’s Oil Sands As Immoral
It is obvious that an ethical egoist would not consider these acts as immoral, since they can not be persecuted for their “bad” actions, they are not affected by their own actions and they are achieving their goals, with no regards to the negative consequences that do not directly involve themselves, meaning they are not using emotions s they are thinking. Ethical egoism is the way to think when selfish desires are an individual own interest. They are motivated by their personal goals and achievements and consider act as moral only if it further helps them achieve their goal, or if they are gaining something in regard to their own personal interest.
Since an ethical egoist, working from within the system, would benefit form this project greatly, there is no doubt they would consider these acts as ethical. An ethical egoist outside the system would also think this is an ethical act as they could benefit from the service provided by the oils such as, electricity and gas used for fuelling their cars. Not only that but if this ethical egoist in question was jobless, he would also argue that this industry created many new job opportunities and that their business is good for the economy in which he/she lives in. All this to say that an ethical egoist has all the reasons to justify this as a truly moral act.
Due to this industry, the have access to oil, gas for their cars, and electricity for their houses, with nothing bad happening to them. Since the negative consequences don’t affect them, they have no reason to care for them. However, although it might be considered ethical now, it might not be later. Since this industry requires a lot of water and emits lots of green house gasses, when we start running out of viable, fresh water, and the temperature become unsupportable for life, then it will become immoral acts. As said in class, “It’s only immoral if you get caught” (Kory Goldberg).
The political situation of this industry shares similarity to the laissez-faire capitalism Ayn Rand explained in her play boy interview. Laissez-faire capitalism is an economic system that is not governed by a government but controlled by private parties. Since sun core (oil sand company) and the government are working together, the freedom these companies have are close to limitless. They do as they please with the tar sands and all the land associated to it. According to the “Dirty Truth” the government has hired Heather Kenedy, a woman known to be already working with sun core and placed as deputy minister for development. The issue here is that there is still paying her salary. Thus, there is an obvious conflict of interest. On top of that, the government is allowing a privately controlled consortium in relationship to this industry, called the RAMP, rather than monitor their actions. This RAMP allows the government to obtain all the information needed and to participate in the decision makings of this organisation. In the eyes of an ethical egoist, this is a win-win situation where both parties can benefit each other all the while being completely moral. The government participated in the company, and the company has new gained freedom with the government on their side, both getting one step closer to their self interest. Theoretically, to an ethical egoist, it would not matter if what they do is legal or not as their ethical system does not consider that. Legal or illegal only matters when they get caught. Moreover, since the government of Alberta does not take any evidence, accusations, leads or claims against oil sand industries seriously, they can’t be caught, meaning that what ever they do, it will still stand as moral as long as it does not harm themselves in the process.
One category of ethical egoist that would be against this industry would be the people that are harmed thanks to it. An example of this would be the indigenous people community living near the Athabasca river. In this case they are put at risk and feel the industry’s negative consequences first hand. Their self interest is disregarded as they are essentially being killed by this company. And thus, will argue that these acts are immoral and the moral thing to do would be to stop them.