Battling over bottled water

Topics: A Theory of Justice, John Rawls, John Stuart Mill Pages: 2 (363 words) Published: January 22, 2015
Frank Robinson
10/20/2014
PHIL 3040
Professor Kordas

Dangerous Products

With an expected water shortage by the year 2025, Nestle has invested $100 million to build a new water bottling plant in Mecosta. The new bottling plant employs about one hundred people and pays them between $12 to $23 an hour, which is significantly more than the local jobs are paying around Mecosta.

Despite the “positives” nestle has created with this new bottling plant project, not all local residents are happy about it. Nestle has began to pump water from Sanctuary Spring, which is on a private deer-hunting ranch, to the bottling plant. Locals are questioning whom the water Nestle is pumping belongs to. The argument is that although Nestle owns the land, the water is a public resource.

Within the Utilitarian theory, in the eyes of the Nestle Company, their actions can be deemed ethical for the fact that the bottling plant has created a substantial amount of jobs for the locals. It was stated that the 262 million gallons of water being pumped are less than one percent of the annual recharge rate of the local watershed. The sacrifice of a small percentage of the public body of water to create jobs and bottled water is ethical within the utilitarian theory.

In Robert Nozick’s entitlement theory, you are entitled to as much property as you want, as long as it was acquired the right way. Sanctuary Springs is viewed as a public source of water. Which means Nestle is completely entitled to use the water, whether that means drinking it or pumping it to a bottling plant. Nestle’s actions are completely ethical within Nozick’s theory.

Under John Rawls theory of ethics, Nestle’s actions are ethical as well. Rawls theory states that the action must benefit the weakest members of society. The company has built bottling plant that employs about a hundred people. Town ship supervisor Maxine Mclellan is has stated “This is probably the best project we’ve ever brought into Mecosta...
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