â€“ Ethical Memoir
Ethics can be defined as “moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity.” Ethics plays a positive role in shaping our society since it not only influences the society but every person individually. Ethics can serve as a guiding mentor to shape our decisions into morally sound and good ones which would contribute positively to the society and promote individual wellbeing. By following ethical principles one can make sure that each individual is given their due rights and they are not usurped. However, more than often one may face a dilemma if a certain act would be ethical or unethical. The ethical dilemma we are scrutinizing under this situation was of a young group of undergraduate students i.e. my friends. Few of them named Aiden, Jason and Sarah were extremely poor and owing to their extreme financial conditions were unable to pay his semester fee. They recently received the final warning to pay their dues or their names would have been struck off from the student list. Acting as their friend, I was now struck with a moral dilemma to help them out in paying his fees. As I evaluated my stance, I could help them in a number of ways. i.e. by
Applying for a loan in a bank and returning the amount by paying monthly installments against the loaned amount or
Stealing cash from my home, to pay the dues in time as a loan application might take a lot of time to process
Or borrow money from my other friends
Lastly, since I was expert in computing, I could hack the system and set the status of fee as paid instead of unpaid
In case of taking a loan from the bank, the only cost was owing the bank a far more amount than the amount borrowed which would be a huge burden on already poor friends. While the potential benefits included the payment of fee on time with a full amount. So, I immediately rejected that thought. The other option i.e. stealing included benefits of paying full dues on time without owing anyone anything and an internal satisfaction of helping friends in need. However, the costs included ruining the trust of his family members and hurting them. In case of borrowing money from friends, I knew that I might never be able to gather enough money for pay full fee of 3 individuals on time and might only be able to save only 1 or 2 of them. Hence, it would involve a huge risk factor and less potential benefits. Lastly, if I hacked into the system and set the fee status as paid, I might be able to save all his friends in time by costing nothing for anyone.
By carefully evaluating all the above alternative scenarios, I finally resorted to choose the last case i.e. hacking into the system to change the status of unpaid dues to a paid one. This was crucial because this action paid the greatest utility and would not pose no such costs for any individual. I ended up solving the dilemma by following as unethical way of dealing with the issue but I consoled myself by stating how I was not doing this for my own greed and was not indulged in any miserliness. If faced with the same problem today however, I would re-contemplate the issue and would try to politely ask for the money from my parents and pay the amount duly by working part time with my friends in the evening. I resorted to solve the event unethically at the time because of an immense pressure of helping my friend in a time constraint but given the gift of time, I would do things ethically this time.
Couser, G. T. (2011). Memoir: an introduction. Oxford University Press.
Douglas, K. (2015). Ethical Dialogues: Youth, Memoir, and Trauma. A/B: Auto/Biography Studies, 30(2), 271-288.
Riesman, D. (1979). 16. Ethical and practical dilemmas of fieldwork in academic settings: A personal memoir. Qualitative and quantitative social research: Papers in honor of Paul F. Lazarsfeld, 210.
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