United States President Donald Trump has recently been attempting to make his import policies, new international trade deals, and tariffs a reality. Trump proposed a 45 percent tariff on imports from China, and a 20 percent tariff on imports from Mexico. This sounds good for American business, however, the aerospace companies are quivering from these numbers. Boeing is the largest aerospace company in the United States. Boeing is becoming increasingly worried, because while they produce 80 percent of its 40-billion-dollar supply chain budget in the United States the remaining 20 percent of the 40 billion is spent elsewhere. Boeing will therefore have their production costs rise making the price of their airplanes rise to consumers. This causes a problem for boing as they must be able to compete for the airline company contracts. Boeing’s largest competitor for these contracts is the French company Airbus. If Boeing was to start losing out on these contracts it would greatly affect their profitability as a company. Boeing only has a few options at that point for decreasing their cost of production to continue competing in the market, and one of the most obvious solutions is less employees. This is causing fear among not only Boeing employees, but also the employees of companies hired by Boeing. With 1.5 million employees in the United States working directly and indirectly for Boeing this could cause a chain reaction that may drop the total number of jobs in the United States for areas such as aerospace. Boeing is continuing its discussions with President Trump to plead their case and have made it clear that they understand the Trump administration is “pro-economic growth including exports and manufacturing jobs” so they are encouraged by this. While the company itself is encouraged by the Trump Administration focus the employees, within Boeing and its suppliers, are still wary that they may lose their positions.
When looking at this situation in an ethical lens we can analyze the integrity of both Donald Trump’s Administration, and Boeing for their reactions to the possibility of a loss of jobs, however, I would like to view this from a Utilitarian aspect. Bentham’s and Mill’s Utilitarian ideas both stem from doing what is best for the greatest number of people. Trump may view losing a few jobs in the market of aerospace to create more positions elsewhere as a necessary sacrifice to ensure the well being of all of the United States citizens. If one believes in Utilitarian ethics, then this gives all the appearances of an ethical and calculated decision by our President. Boeing has a similar decision to make. If they take into affect the Utilitarian ideas set forth by Bentham, and Mill they may make the decision to fire a percentage of employees to ensure the strength of their company therefore saving the jobs of many more. This sounds like an okay situation, however, what happens if President Trump and Boeing take into consideration all the jobs that may be lost over time due to a drop in purchases made in the industry by Boeing? Does this decision still seem to be an ethical one? Much more consideration must be put into this in order to ensure the correct Utilitarian decision is made. This would ensure the wellbeing of more people than it harms, and I am not sure if this sacrifice is a good one to engage in. However, Boeing and the Trump Administration are working on a solution to the perceived problems, and hopefully they come to the correct decision ensuring the most people are better off in the aftermath.