The Ethics of Profit

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by carbonmotion, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    J.O. is my friend.

    J.O. saw my D40 the other day and asked how much do they cost... I said, well I'll give it to you for 600 bucks right now. He said deal. So I handed him the D40 Kit plus Bag and Memory, which I had originally aquired for 600 dollars.

    I then bought another D40 Kit + Bag + Memory for 550 on Amazon. Was that unethical of me to make a profit of 50 dollars from a friend?

    Granted, he really doesn't care about the money, he drives a parentally funded MB G55 AMG around town. 600 dollars is a mere quarter of his weekly allowance.

    Part of me feels that such a trivial difference in money paid for him will out weight the instant gratification of "getting it now". I, on the other hand, needed the fifty dollars to pay off a long overdue ticket. Although I do have the money, I have recently switched banks and thus is without a check or credit card. Since he paid me via Pay Pal, I can now use my Pay Pal debit card to pay the ticket online. If that had not happened, I would've had to wait at least two more weeks, by which time the ticket price would have increased. Thus, this situation worked out best for everyone involved, because it generated maximum happiness. This is the utilitarian rationalization.

    Another part of me feels that he is by all accounts, once of the nicest and most honest person I know. Additionally, I feel somewhat obligated to treat anyone the way I want to be treated. Thus, this situation clearly fails the Rawls - Kant veil of ignorance test.

    What are your opinions on this moral dilemma?
  2. dops7107 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 19, 2005
    Perth, Oztrailya
    Did you intend to ask more for the items than you knew he could actually buy them for? That is you deliberately asked him for $600 when you knew it would only cost him $550 if he was prepared to wait a bit? That seems the only shady bit of the deal to me, and in any case, what we're really talking about here is $50 which is a pittance to him. He was happy to pay for it.

    Next time perhaps ask if he could lend you $50 to pay for your ticket! If he's nice and honest I'm sure he wouldn't mind.

    EDIT: hang on. $2400 a week allowance? What could he possibly spend all that on?? That's way more than I earn in a week...

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