Ford Pinto Case External social pressures play a big part in the decision reached about the Ford Motor Company. When you have highly respected individuals such as retired NASA engineer Dr. Leslie Ball say “The release to production of the Pinto was the most reprehensible decision in the history of American Engineering” (Newton, Ford, 2007, p. 1); there is cause for concern.
There would be more social pressure today as opposed to the 70’s simply because of the availability of internet. There were a number of options that Ford had that would of prevented the deaths of so many people yet it was not done until eight years after the release of the first model.
Lee Iacocca’s favorite saying was “Safety doesn’t sell cars (Newton, Ford, 2007, p. 1)”. Society today would not tolerate nor accept that kind of philosophy from corporations today.
Ethically or morally is it right to put value on a human life as Ford did when doing their cost analysis.
Ambrose Bierce author of The Devils Dictionary defines a corporation as “An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility” (Newton, Ford, 2007, p. 1). This is exactly what Ford did and that is why social pressure forced them to eventually fix the problem after over five hundred deaths.
Mark Dowie general manager of business operations of the magazine Mother Jones reported that data obtained from Ford engineers said the car was put into production without adequate testing, that it had a very vulnerable fuel system that would rupture with any rear end collision. These facts were discovered before the car was ever put into production yet they went ahead. (Newton, Ford, 2007, p. 1) Yes Ford was at fault and yes external social pressures did influence the decision, but along with social pressure there is the moral obligation that Ford had to its customers which they failed to fulfill.
Alan Wolf from chapter four of Taking Sides describes the corporation on the standard economic view as “A device through which human beings, who have moral obligation, come together for the purpose of ridding themselves of their capacity to exercise moral obligations”. (Newton, Ford, 2007, p. 1).
- Newton, L. , Ford (2007). Taking Sides Issue 4. In Clashing views in business and society (p. 1).
- Highstown NI: McGraw Hill/Dushkin. Newton, L. , Ford (2007). Taking Sides. In Clashing views in business and society (10th ED) (p. Issue 15). Highstown NI: McGraw Hill/Dushkin.
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