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Energy Saving Light Bulb Manufactures Ethical Issue


Owing to the negative effects that global warming is having on our planets, debates have raged on as to the best way to alleviate the degradation of the environment. One of the ways that have been proposed and to some extent embraced in some countries is the use of energy-saving light bulbs as opposed to the traditional filament bulbs that consume a significantly higher amount of energy in comparison. However, studies suggest that these energy-saving bulbs hurt the health of people. The question thereby arises as to whether it is ethical for companies to continue manufacturing these bulbs which have a positive effect on the environment but a negative one on people’s health. This paper shall address this issue by utilizing the social contract theory.

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Manufacturing companies as ethical agents

The environment is fundamental to the survival of the human species and all other life forms on our planet. We are therefore obligated to protect it from all harm since our survival depends on it. Due to pollution which has been taking place indiscriminately over the past century, nature’s fragile balance is being offset and the impacts are being felt by human beings. Droughts, famine, floods, and dying out of some species are just a number of the issues directly attributed to the changing environment. The Social Contract theory holds that actions carried out by someone are morally permissible if they increase the benefits of an individual or indeed, the society at large.

Safeguarding the environment is in the best interest of society. Following the social contract theory, it is, therefore, our obligation as human beings to protect the environment in any way that we can. From this perspective, one can see that the manufacturing companies are acting both responsibly and ethically in their quest to protect the environment from any further degeneration. The Social Contract theory also asserts that actions are considered ethical if one does not intend to intentionally harm others. The energy-saving manufacturers set out to make products that protect the environment and the fact that they seem to cause health issues is an unintended outcome. The companies are therefore absolved from any unethical practice since their intentions are benevolent.

Manufacturing companies as unethical agents

However, if one puts the human concern above the environment, the manufacturing companies can be observed to act in a grossly unethical manner. Medical practitioners blame energy-saving light bulbs for causing health issues in people like migraines, dizziness, and loss of focus in people. Despite these accusations, most governments all over the world are poised to set up laws that will legally obligate citizens to utilize only energy-saving bulbs in their homes. The Social Contract act obligates everyone to “do unto others as they would have them do unto you”. The actions of the manufactures can therefore not be justified since it is highly unlikely that anyone would enjoy having their health adversely affected.

The manufacturing companies are also likely to make huge profits from their undertakings in the large-scale manufacture and sale of energy-saving bulbs. The consumer on the other hand stands to gain only health complications in the form of migraines and sight problems. This goes against the core principles of the Social contract which instigate that morally permissible actions are those that increase one’s benefit but not at the cost of harming others. From this perspective, the manufacturing companies are not behaving ethically since they are putting their self-interest of making profits above the common interest.


This paper set out to apply the social contract theory on the issue of companies manufacturing energy-saving light bulbs. It has been seen that depending on which perspective one looks at the issue from, their actions can be termed as being either ethical or unethical.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 8). Energy Saving Light Bulb Manufactures Ethical Issue.

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"Energy Saving Light Bulb Manufactures Ethical Issue." StudyCorgi, 8 Nov. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Energy Saving Light Bulb Manufactures Ethical Issue." November 8, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Energy Saving Light Bulb Manufactures Ethical Issue." November 8, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Energy Saving Light Bulb Manufactures Ethical Issue." November 8, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Energy Saving Light Bulb Manufactures Ethical Issue'. 8 November.

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