Ethical Theory vs. Nestle Marketing Tactics

Topics: Morality, Ethics, Immanuel Kant Pages: 3 (896 words) Published: March 9, 2008
According to Immanuel Kant's ethical theory, an act is only morally right if we can will it to be a universal law of conduct. This ideal is what Kant called the "categorical imperative." The categorical imperative has been successfully achieved when all of the following conditions have been met: the act in question is possible for everyone to follow; all rational people must be able to accept the act as if they were receiving the treatment themselves, and last, the act can never treat people as means to ends. In following Kant's conditions, if everyone used deceptive marketing practices, as Nestlé did, ultimately no one would believe in any product being marketed or those marketing the product. It would essentially nullify marketing altogether, and possible hurt the economy. The logical conclusion to Kant's first condition is: no, not everyone could practice the same marketing tactics as Nestlé because the deception would be so widespread that marketing itself would be irrelevant. Second, if another company used these same tactics on the Nestlé Company itself or its employees, it's very doubtful they wouldn't walk away feeling anything less than deceived and/or insulted. No rational human being has a desire to be deceived or taken advantage of, so it is logical and rational to assume that no one who practiced these marketing tactics would have wanted them used upon themselves. The last condition to be met to achieve Kant's categorical imperative is that the act itself can never treat people as a mere means to an end. This means that you can not use or disrespect people in any way for the purpose self-interest or obtaining any other specific goal. Nestlé did not respect anyone else's goals or desires but their own. Using blatantly deceptive marketing practices to persuade people to buy products that they do not fully understand how to use, only to further Nestlé's company objectives, is a very clear example of treating people as a means to an end, therefore...
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