Ethical decision to be made: Should the farm owners use the chemical treatment to enhance their crop yield?

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A major chemical company invents a new chemical plant-growth regulator that can improve crop yield by 20%. Such an increase in yield can help struggling farmers to increase their revenue from their yearly crops, creating and retaining jobs. The substance is new but has chemical similarity to other substances known to cause long term health effects in humans. When used, the substance has high mobility and can enter waterways and thus water that can be used for drinking and other agricultural and industrial applications. The new crop yield product could also generate significant revenue for the chemical company, creating new jobs.

Ethical decision-making process:

  • What are the ethical issues? What does not feel right?
  • What are the relevant facts? Is anything missing or distorted?
  • Who are the stakeholders? What are their influence on the situation?
  • What are the situational factors?
  • What are the values in conflict?
  • How do the ethical frameworks apply? Is anyone/any group not acting with virtue? Are any ethical rules being violated? How would the most benefit to the largest number of people be achieved? Should only people be considered?
  • What are possible solutions? What are the consequences? What must be monitored in the future?
  • What was your final solution and justification? 

Implement your solution:

  • Should the farm owners use the chemical treatment to enhance their crop yield? Justify your answer.
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