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Reason, declared Kant, is the source and ultimate basis for morality. Morality wholly rests in pure, innate reason and not in intuition, conscience, law, or utility. The standard of morality, therefore, is inherent in the human mind; it is definable only in terms of the mind; and it is derived from one’s innerself by direct perception (Cavico & Mujtaba, 2013). According to Kant, in order to be moral, one has to be rational. “The right use of reason is directed to moral ends” (Cavico & Mujtaba, 2009). A person has to think rationally, he or she does not have think only about self-interest. As a result of that, there is no place for such thing as Ethical Egoism. People should be treated with dignity and respect. Kant presumes that human beings are rational and can utilize reason (Cavico & Mujtaba, 2009). Kant called the supreme ethical principles the Categorical Imperative.
This principle is necessary element of human reason and foundation upon which rest all moral judgments (Cavico & Mujtaba, 2013). Kant’s method has three parts of testing, which are used for identification whether or not an action is moral. No matter in what kind of situation a person can be, a rational individual performs an action because he or she has a moral obligation and duty. Application of Kantian Ethical Analysis
The categorical Imperative is not a principle of action itself; instead, it ethically lays down the form a moral maxim must take. Thus, said Kant, reason indicates that a moral action must have a certain form. The ethics “test” is a formal test (Cavico & Mujtaba, 2013). Literally, a person has to indicate whether his/her actions would be successful or would be considered as a self-destruction. In this case, the test will determine that situation with the company such CVS will be most likely successful. One of the main reasons that the company is doing this, is to show the public and competitors that it really cares about the health and well-being of its customers and the nation. By taking out all tobacco products from all CVS stores in the United States, the administration of the company who have main input in the way how the firm works, would really benefit. In general public might be surprised that CVS are going to aim on people’s health. In this kind of situation many things will change and increase in the business, things as trust and confidence would be maintained. So, action passes the first test.
The second test states that every person should be treated with dignity, respect and as a valuable and worthwhile entity (Cavico & Mujtaba, 2009).This test involves by itself shareholders, employee, employer, consumers, and society as well. In this case some people have different point of view, some of them firmly believe that they have the right to buy any products they like or to do whatever they chose to do.
There is an argument, which explains that it might be unethical for the company like CVS to make people uncomfortable for purchasing tobacco products. CVS does not show any respect for smokers. They feel themselves not welcomed. According to Kantian theory CVS should need to make sure that their clients feel comfortable and welcome in the drugstores, no matter what kind of products are sold. CVS has to analyze and think about customers themselves, not only about profits, even though that basically, the idea of having business is for income purpose. To conform with the Kantian views, the company like CVS which is one of the largest drugstore chains in the United States, should pay more attention for its prosperity, rather than a little aspect of the firm to have some profits. Kant assumes that people cannot take advantage of another person. Additionally, it also explains that people cannot act and do anything without full comprehension and permission of the person. An individual needs someone’s logical, intellectual, complete agreement for this to happen. In this situation, people can think differently. Some of them can support CVS for the idea of removing tobacco products from pharmacy place, because it is ethical and some of them firmly argue with this statement. Even though that the people deeply understand that the products they were purchasing have the risks for their health and very harmful for their organisms. According to this information, the second test will definitely fail. The third test is the agent-receiver test which asks whether a rational person would accept the action or rule regardless of whether he or she was the agent or the receiver of the action (Cavico & Mujtaba, 2009). So, the main cost of this change would be a major loss in income. But people can lose their jobs, the managers and executives will feel decrease in salaries.
Many employees may be in danger of losing a job. Moreover, the prices of shares of stocks will decrease, then shareholders could be in danger of losing earnings. These are all the possible ways of banning all packs of cigarettes from CVS stores. Nevertheless, analytics of the company predicts that the benefits that CVS would get of trust and confidence would be worth the danger of losing profit. By stop selling tobacco products and removing all sweets from the drugstores as well, the firm would have to reassess how and in what kind of ways it can have its income. It will be very difficult to survive for the company, especially in the beginning of this change. It has a worse outcome than just minor loss in sales. The company would have a very negative effect from this and many people would not have a benefit as well. In this case, customers and employees would lose. Because of CVS stops selling cigarettes, as we mentioned above, many people will lose their potential jobs, therefore, the third test certainly will not pass. Only if the company will help their employees by giving them recommendation letters and providing with résumé/interview training, the third test might be considered as passed. But as long as, the action of CVS is going to be presented in October of this year. We still do not know whether they will help their employer or not. So, at this moment of time, this action is considered as not passed.
Moral Conclusion Pursuant to Kantian Ethical Model
An action is morally right if it has a certain form, and morally wrong if it does not have that form. The Form, the Categorical Imperative, is the first, supreme, fundamental principle in ethics. It is the form a moral action must have; it provides the ultimate standard by which one test can test action, rules, beliefs, and standards to determine if they are moral (Cavico & Mujtaba, 2013). Based on Kant’s ethics, the action of CVS pharmacy about removing tobacco products from the stores can be considered moral, only if it passes the Categorical Imperative tests. Some type of questions must be considered such as, is this action only benefiting the company or others as well? How would CVS feel if others performed this action? If the firm rationalized its actions, they would be moral. First of all, if everyone takes the same action that took CVS, the world will become healthy. We will not see any more death as a result of tobacco products. CVS has always functioned very well with good ratings in customers service and with high earnings. Even with a ban of tobacco in October, the company is still one of the leading pharmacies in the country. Nevertheless, this new plan may not make everyone in society happy. Some people, most likely smokers think that this ban is unfair and unethical, but managers and executives thought that it was the right step for the healthy future and for the business. As a result of this decision, the company will gain trust from its consumers, which will result in a more successful firm. In other words, smokers will not be treated equally with other people with respect and dignity, therefore the second test will fail. Overall, if CVS will take care of people who probably will lose their jobs, the third test can be considered as passed. Despite the problems with Kantian ethics, Kant’s very important accomplishment was to underscore, and to appreciate, people as free, rational, moral beings, with individuals rights and self-imposed duties to respect others (Cavico & Mujtaba, 2013).
In conclusion, CVS’s incredible decision involves long term perspective and sacrifices. The administration of the company has a solid strategy of how to operate the company and all of the stores. With a great plan on operations, they are able to have a successful business. As long as, it is such a large company, these changes will be beneficial, even with some people against the stores, unless there is another major change to products in the near future.