To examine McDonald’s value for consumers, my paper will apply the ethical consideration of consequentialism to their business practice. This should be done because McDonald’s operations falls between two categories of consequentialism. On one side, the consequence of McDonald’s operation is obesity, increased meat consumption, and results of those two such as heart disease. On the other side, McDonald’s supplies food for people and therefore creates happiness. There is a clear controversy over the ethics of their public offering, but is the consequence of their a net positive or negative for society?
In my paper, a main citation that will help define consequentialism will be Brad Hooker on “Rule-Consequentialism” which disusses the ethical difference between a consequence that is best for individual people, a consequence that best fulfills people’s desires, and a consequence that is best for all people rather than any individual. He states, “Some desires seem to be things too unconnected with you for them to play a direct role in determining your good.” The problem here clearly stems from a discrepancy between pleasure in the short term and long term health.
The problem with the food McDonald’s sells and promotes is the health related problems that stem from continuous consumption. These health problems occur because of a “race to the bottom” mentality that permeates the industry, attempting to produce food as cheaply as possible while maintaining a sweet flavor without regard to the health impact. The consequence of this is a generation of children and adults that have increased their risk for obesity-related health problems that incur a heavy toll on insurance. From this perspective, McDonald’s should alter its product line considerably to promote a healthy diet, though this may lose them a large quantity of core customers.
On the other hand, the food McDonald’s sells is artificially flavored to create a pleasurable experience and the locations are often designed to be “fun”, targeting a younger age group with a sweet tooth. By providing pleasure for their consumers at an affordable cost, McDonald’s has achieved a desirable consequence for their actions. The people who choose to eat the food are satisfied and the company plays a needed role in society. From this perspective, the consequences of their operations are positive for consumers. So is McDonald’s beneficial for society or not?