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Old 09-15-2014, 03:26 PM   #1
T00DEEPBLUE
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Morality vs Employment

So today at uni, I was talking to one of my lead lecturers after the lecture finished regarding the marking scheme and what was expected of us to write in our reports.

The course I'm doing is Product Design Engineering.

He explained to me that one thing he is interested in reading from our report, is any moral factors that could affect the direction and outcome of our product design project.

He explained for instance that before he was a lecturer, he was a freelance design, (about 25 years ago) he was once commissioned to design the parachute deployment system for a prototype aircraft-mounted cluster bomb that would shower the ground with hundreds of high-explosive warheads. The weapon was used in the Gulf War and hundreds, if not thousands of people were killed by the weapon. Many of the deaths had been caused by unexploded bomblets killing civilians. This was a known flaw with cluster weapons of the time, and it was made aware by my lecturer during the commission, but the design of the weapon proceeded anyway.

My lecturer at the time had the opportunity to accept another commission regarding something else entirely, but he took up the cluster bomb commission because it paid so much better. He received 40 grand for his work during the 6 month contract with the firm.

Of course, my lecturer couldn't dictate how, where and when the weapons were used. And that was the scary part in his view. He didn't know if what he had designed was killing people until the news journalists got on it during the Gulf War.





I guess the question is, how far do you think you would go at risk of moral bankruptcy for £40,000 in 6 months?

Oddly specific question, but it's an excuse to share some banter.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:28 PM   #2
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If I don't design the weapons someone else will
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:29 PM   #3
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Once you've been employed for a few months, your morality will disappear anyway.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:31 PM   #4
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let's see moral bankruptcy or money bankruptcy
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:31 PM   #5
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If you say no, someone else will take your place. Youre not saving the world by turning it down
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:33 PM   #6
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This is a question I've had to raise myself recently.

I've recently graduated and decided to go looking for a bunch of jobs. I've applied mainly to science related R&D jobs but also to a couple of business and finance related jobs since my degree could actually be of use there.

I had an interview at one of these business/finance firms recently and it was a day long affair following someone around for the day as they do a bunch of stuff and explained to me about their company. Sadly the whole business and finance sector came across to me as morally bankrupt and was just not for me. People are seen as demographics and not numbers, as resources to be exploited for profit and the whole day left me with a thoroughly sour taste in my mouth.

I just couldn't go to sleep at night knowing I'm helping to take money off of people selling them something they don't need through a bunch of marketing scams. Luckily it helped to narrow down my job search to purely science related things, even if it's a far lower potential salary I'd rather be doing something I agree morally with for the benefit of society than high salary jobs doing stuff in an environment of slimy businesspeople I hate.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiegenlied
If you say no, someone else will take your place. Youre not saving the world by turning it down

But how much of a price as you willing to put on your own personal morals?
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EndTheRapture51
This is a question I've had to raise myself recently.

I've recently graduated and decided to go looking for a bunch of jobs. I've applied mainly to science related R&D jobs but also to a couple of business and finance related jobs since my degree could actually be of use there.

I had an interview at one of these business/finance firms recently and it was a day long affair following someone around for the day as they do a bunch of stuff and explained to me about their company. Sadly the whole business and finance sector came across to me as morally bankrupt and was just not for me. People are seen as demographics and not numbers, as resources to be exploited for profit and the whole day left me with a thoroughly sour taste in my mouth.

I just couldn't go to sleep at night knowing I'm helping to take money off of people selling them something they don't need through a bunch of marketing scams. Luckily it helped to narrow down my job search to purely science related things, even if it's a far lower potential salary I'd rather be doing something I agree morally with for the benefit of society than high salary jobs doing stuff in an environment of slimy businesspeople I hate.


So, you were turned down by that finance company?
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the chinese take-out place my family always ordered from gave you chopsticks, so as a kid it was fun to try & eat with chopsticks
now i just use a fork, 'cuz nothing is fun anymore & i just want to shovel food into my mouth to fill the void
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:39 PM   #9
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So, you were turned down by that finance company?


Nah I got up to the lunch break period, said sorry it's not for me and then went home
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:39 PM   #10
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"I guess the question is, how far do you think you would go at risk of moral bankruptcy for £40,000 in 6 months?"

It's never that cut and dry. When designing munitions you know going in that they will kill someone. If you find a flaw in the design you work towards resolving it knowing that you can't fix everything. Do your best. If you don't want to design munitions, design robotics, cars, communications satellites etc.

We always have choices and we can choose our own employment. There are lots of job opportunities I passed on along the way that I felt were immoral, criminal, and deceptive. Money is good but looking yourself in the mirror and sleeping well is better.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by behind_you
If I don't design the weapons someone else will



Perhaps your best post, bud.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by behind_you
If I don't design the weapons someone else will

True enough. I'm not any sort of special genius; there are plenty of others capable of doing pretty well anything I can do.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:55 PM   #13
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If I don't design the weapons someone else will

Yeah, but that's point (I think). Are you okay with knowing that it wasn't someone else who did it. It was you.


Personally I dunno. I'd like to think I'd turn it down because I think it's kind of messed up, but 40k is a lot of money...
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:58 PM   #14
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I don't think I could do it, I would rather kill myself than kill other people.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:02 PM   #15
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this is capitalism
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:04 PM   #16
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this is capitalism

Whereas under communism, he'd have done the designs for a bowl of borscht each night during the design process, with an extra half-bottle of cabbage vodka a week.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:04 PM   #17
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do I get to be iron man after I design them all?
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:05 PM   #18
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Whereas under communism, he'd have done the designs for a bowl of borscht each night during the design process, with an extra half-bottle of cabbage vodka a week.

mm I love borscht
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:06 PM   #19
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I would have no problem working on a project like that.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel
Yeah, but that's point (I think). Are you okay with knowing that it wasn't someone else who did it. It was you.

This was what I was trying to imply in the question. But it seems like people misinterpreted slightly. That's okay, I should've been more explicit.

But it's also worth reminding that it isn't just you being responsible, but you willingly capitalized on it too.
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