Polluter’s Dilemma

September 16, 2017 General Studies

What motives would the company have to install the new technology? Given the fact that there are recent evidences to support that if the company’s emission level stays the same, the fish in the lakes and rivers in the area might soon be unsafe for human consumption, it is only the right thing to consider and do install the necessary technology. This is in the interest of not only of the environment but of the ultimate benefactor of the environment which is the human beings. The motive here can be simply considered as a form of psychological altruism in which we value benevolence or kindness towards others.

In the perspective of a company, it can be considered a form of being socially responsible. This can also be viewed under the principle of duties, specifically duties to others. The others refer to the environment and the human beings. Even if the factory’s emission is within the legal limits levels, given the fact that new evidence are coming and knowing that the government is always lagging behind scientific evidences, the motivating to do is to install the new technology.

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However, it can be argued as well in the perspective of self preservation. The company fears that backed by public opinion the company maybe force to not only install the new technology but also requires monthly emission level reports which is much expensive and time consuming. What motives would the company have to delay installing the new technology? As stated the company’s environmental compliance budget is tight. The company needs to show profit for the year if it has to survive with stocks and investors confidence.

The motive that can be argued or considered here would be on the basis of duty to oneself, for self propagation and interest. Psychological egoism can also be argued here. It can be discoursed that in the interest of the factory’s workforce or personnel, to remain able to provide job, tax and overall to the “in-line” benefactor (e. g. worker’s family, the government) the company has to survive and thus should be able to show profit for the year instead of consuming it towards installing a new technology.

The fact that the government has not yet imposed a new regulation and the company is legally following the government requirement on its emission it can be considered as doing its responsibility and that installing the new technology is irrational and can be argued as unethical which is tantamount to self destruction. Self preservation is important for the company. Why might companies in this region prefer for the government to impose new regulations?

There are a few things to think along this line; one is that the companies would want to show to their clients and investors that the reason they might not be posting profit is that because they are socially responsible, installing expensive and time consuming new technologies for the benefit of the environment. This may encourage more investors especially those which possess and highly respects social altruism. This might come up if the government had been quite up to date in its environmental regulations.

The second thought however, would be that for their own benefit and posting of profit for the year, the companies would prefer the government to give the go signal since the government is always delayed in its environmental policies and regulations. Therefore, the companies would benefit from the time delay of the installation of the expensive new technologies. This is along lines of self preservation and interest.


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