Principle of Utilitarianism and Political Obligation

Image result for UtilitarianismCurrently, political economy abounds with debates of the weighing of “social benefits” and “social cost” in deciding which public policy are the best. To some extent, that is what is known as utilitarianism. .Jeremy Bentham believed that all our actions are motivated by longing to maximize pleasure and avoid pain. The moral quality of an action depends upon the amount of pleasure to be derived from it: an action which produces the greatest pleasure is ‘morally right’; an action which produced pain is ‘wrong’.

The principle holds that all government policies be made to conform to their most socially beneficial purpose. Although people differ as to the meaning of the word beneficial, most agree that a regulation’s utility may be defined as its ability to increase wealth, pleasure, or fairness. On the other hand, there are some utilitarians who measure a law’s effectiveness by its ability to reduce unhappiness, poverty, or unfairness.

Utilitarians believe that whenever government is deciding what to do, it should perform the action that will create the greatest net utility. In their view, the principle of usefulness—do whatever will generate the best results—should be applied when enacting laws. The right government action in any situation is the one that yields more utility.


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