My Opinion | Jan 01,2022
January 16 , 2021
By Asegid Getachew ( is an assistant professor and research scholar at Andhra University. He can be reached at email@example.com. )
Objectivists may consider utilitarianism an altruistic pursuit that undermines rational self-interest. However, it is an unparalleled virtue and the most appropriate moral code that humanity can practice in our current situation.
What exactly is utilitarianism?
It has had several variations and continues to be developed as an ethical theory. But it was first introduced comprehensively by philosophers Jeremy Bentham and then propounded by John Stewart Mill. They described it as a moral code that evaluates the worth of an action based on its capacity to enhance the happiness of, or eliminate the pain for, the largest possible number of people. In practical terms, it means that if what we do maximises the pleasure of others, or minimises their pain, it is worth undertaking.
It can be applied successfully to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is wreaking havoc throughout the world. The way forward requires a reconsideration of our definition of “morality” and “virtue.” We need to get hold of it by suppressing the “Ego” and the ”I” in us and replacing it by “We.”
To understand the considerable significance of utilitarianism in our current situation, we do not have to go too far. We simply need to recognise and acknowledge the immense virtue of those who are already practising it.
On the front line are essential workers – health care professionals, delivery and grocery workers and manufacturing employees — who are already out there doing everything they can for us to make it safely out of the pandemic.
Despite the criticism that is usually levelled at social media companies and tech giants, they have poured billions of dollars into helping the ongoing effort in search of medical treatments for the virus. The development of efficacious vaccines that we see rollout in some parts of the world would not have been possible if these firms had not lent a helping hand.
They have also teamed up on efforts to develop apps that dramatically changed how tracking and tracing are done. All of this has contributed to humanity in its hour of need and adversity.
Manufacturers — big and small — contribute their share by operating under a “transformed business model.” They are repurposing their machinery to produce items like sanitiser, masks, ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPEs), which are game-changers in fighting the virus. It takes a cynic to claim that this is motivated purely by profit and not some sense of collective responsibility for securing a better future for humanity.
It is an effort that has been replicated at the level of governments that are doing their hardest to cull the further transmission of the virus by designing their best-laid plans. Led by the World Health Organisation (WHO), governments of developed countries and multilateral organisations have come together for COVAX, a global effort to ensure that low-income countries do not fall backwards in treatment solutions.
These should show us that the current situation dictates us to totally ignore the notion of “I” and fully embrace the virtue of “We.”
Vaccines are finally being rolled out. And that is news that we all have fervently been waiting for. However, the limited production capacity, logistical challenges and fallouts from the new variant of the virus will make it very hard to reach the entire world in a short period. This implies that a huge chunk of the worldwide population will not get vaccinations in the foreseeable feature. Such stumbling blocks will make the road ahead tricky to navigate.
To the dissatisfaction of the majority, the pandemic will continue to be a clear and present danger for an indefinite period to come. And more lockdowns and restrictions will be in order.
As the restriction to battle the beast continues, small business will face closure, petty traders will continue to lose the essential income that keeps them and their families moving, and millions will lose their job throughout the world. And those who depended on others for food will feel the brunt of it as the sources they rely on keep on dwindling.
It is thus the responsibility of everyone to help those in need. Remember, a simple act of kindness ripples wide and far.
“Love cannot remain by itself — it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service,” Mother Teresa said.
That service should be in favour of what would produce the maximum pleasure for the most.
PUBLISHED ON Jan 16,2021 [ VOL 21 , NO 1081]
My Opinion | Jan 01,2022
Commentaries | Jun 04,2022
Viewpoints | Jun 19,2021
Radar | Nov 13,2021
Viewpoints | May 31,2020
Radar | Apr 03,2021
Sunday with Eden | Jul 10,2020
Viewpoints | Apr 10,2021
Editorial | Mar 27,2021
Fineline | Apr 12,2020
Photo Gallery | 53228 Views | May 06,2019
Fortune News | 46048 Views | Jul 18,2020
Photo Gallery | 44987 Views | Apr 26,2019
Fortune News | 44815 Views | Sep 01,2021
Commentaries | Jul 02,2022
Life Matters | Jul 02,2022
My Opinion | Jul 02,2022
Sunday with Eden | Jul 02,2022
Agenda | Jul 02,2022
Editorial | Jul 02,2022
July 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
November 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
November 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
October 16 , 2021 . By HAWI DADHI
Residing in a country with no capital market, an organised marketplace for trading se...
The pandemic, armed conflicts and natural disasters have again brought the importance...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country’s most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or tw...
July 2 , 2022
After nearly two years since the civil war broke out in northern Ethiopia, adversarie...
June 25 , 2022
It is not the best of times to be in charge of governance in Ethiopia, whether at the...
June 18 , 2022
Some of Ethiopia's economic policymakers may take solace from realising that inflatio...
June 11 , 2022
The stereotype many people have of parliamentarians is as clueless seat fillers who exist to rubber stamp legislative bi...
PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD) at a Gala Dinner Called for the Awarding of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize
May 6 , 2019
A couple of years ago, I was having a conversation with a friend and mentor who has...
The advertising industry in Ethiopia has come a long way. They are not only getting better and more creat...
In an economy that has slowed, where consumers are hammered by inflation, and the private sector is teetering on edge, one industry has a br...
July 2 , 2022 . By TSION HAILEMICHAEL
Getu Gelete has struck a deal to acquire a 40pc stake in Habesha Cement S.C., buying out Pretoria Portlan...
July 2 , 2022 . By BERSABEH GEBRE
Lake Ayalew, minister of Revenues, moved to address complaints about inflationary distortions on capital...
July 2 , 2022 . By BERSABEH GEBRE
The federal government is set to roll out a single-account treasury system for the coming budget year, co...
Or see contact page