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Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes utility,

usually defined as maximizing happiness and reducing suffering. Classic utilitarianism's two most influential contributors are Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. John Stuart Mill in his book Utilitarianism, stated, "In the golden rule of Jesus of Nazareth, we read the complete spirit of the ethics of utility. To do as one would be done by, and to love one's neighbour as oneself, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality." According to Bentham and Mill, utilitarianism is hedonistic only when the result of an action has no decidedly negative impact on others.[1] It is now generally taken to be a form of consequentialism, although when Anscombe first introduced that term it was to distinguish between "old-fashioned utilitarianism" and consequentialism.[2] In utilitarianism, the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, although there is debate over how much consideration should be given to actual consequences, foreseen consequences and intended consequences. In A Fragment on Government, Bentham says, "it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong"[3] and describes this as a fundamental axiom. In An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, he talks of "the principle of utility" but later prefers "the greatest happiness principle."[4][5] Utilitarianism can be characterized as a quantitative and reductionist approach to ethics. It is a type of naturalism.[6] It can be contrasted with deontological ethics,[7] which does not regard the consequences of an act as a determinant of its moral worth; virtue ethics,[8] which primarily focuses on acts and habits leading to happiness; pragmatic ethics; as well as with ethical egoism and other varieties of consequentialism.[9] Utilitarianism is influential in political philosophy. Bentham and Mill believed that a utilitarian government was achievable through democracy. Mill thought that despotism was also justifiable through utilitarianism as a transitional phase towards more democratic forms of governance. As an advocate of liberalism, Mill stressed the relationship between utilitarianism and individualism.[10]

Ethical Theory and Its Application to Contemporary Business Practice


March 15, 2013Academic writing (Business, health, technology and education related topics), Business related issuesDeontological ethics, Ethics, Immanuel Kant, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Kantianism, Negative and positive rights, Rawl

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Introduction When it comes to determining a set of rules, guidelines or principles to follow in the business industry, many will agree that it is difficult for everybody to agree on one due to the complexities of dealing with human nature. Therefore, to a certain extent, the field of business ethics tries to come up with solutions to handle problems that arise within the business environment. On the contrary belief, one should not be confused with the meaning of morality and ethical theory. Morality has got to do with principles or rules that are used by people to decide between wrong and right (Jennings, 2008). Meanwhile, ethical theory tends to provide guidelines that justify an action to be right or wrong when settling human conflicts (Jennings, 2008). This paper is going to discuss five different ethical theories. They consist of the utilitarianism, Kantian deontology, justice, rights and ethical relativism theories. After that, these ethical concepts will be used to identify some of the ethical issues that are presented in the article entitled News of the World: What was it like on the inside? Finally, this paper is also going to come to a conclusion regarding the effectiveness of business theories and practices. Ethical theories Utilitarianism The utilitarian theory insists that an action is considered to be right or wrong based on the consequences of the action and its effects on majority of the people (West, 2004). This means that an action or practice is ethically correct when it produces more positive consequences in comparison to negative ones to those who are involved. The forerunners for this school of thought are Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill (west, 2004). Therefore, utilitarianism goes by the rule that an action is evaluated to be ethical based on a set of rules or principles that can bring the greatest usefulness to the greatest amount of people (Mill, 2006). This is the total opposite to deontological ethics whereby utilitarian believes that there should not be any compromising

when it comes to determining the stand point of morality. Tools such as cost benefit analysis and risk assessment are often depended on by utilitarian for decision making purposes. However, there are some arguments regarding the greatest happiness principle that is set forth by utilitarianism. This is due to the difficulty in measuring unit of happiness or in order to determine an action that will bring the most benefit comparing to other actions (Mill, 2006). Kantian deontology Kantian deontology stresses that an action is considered to be ethical if it can be accepted as a universal law by every individual (Makkreel & Luft, 2010). It is first introduced by a philosopher from Germany named Immanuel Kant. He believes that morality must follow a set of rules without any exceptions. Therefore, this school of thought looks at categorical principles whereby they are imperatives and instructions are given on the way one must act (Holzhey & Mudroch, 2005). Besides that, Kantianism also emphasizes on treating each other with respect. A person should not be used as a mean to get to an end (Holzhey & Mudroch, 2005). This means that an individual is bound or obligated to their duty to follow a set of maxim in order to determine whether their actions are ethically right. However, there have been arguments on Kantian deontology mostly due to the narrowness and inadequacy of this theory to handle various moral problems or dilemmas (Makkreel & Luft, 2010). For example, there is no moral guidance or solution when an individuals rights and duties crosses path. Justice Justice can be defined as the importance of getting fair treatments, equality and having rights (Rawl, 1999). In order to grasp a better understanding on the theories of justice, this section is going to look at Nozicks libertarianism and Rawls justice as fairness. According to Nozick, every individual has the right to own a piece of property as long as it is acquired fairly without going against other peoples rights (Paul, Miller & Paul, 2005). In the world of economy and business, libertarian believes in a free market where it is no influenced by government policies or public services. When an organization or individual is taxed by the government for their property which they have obtained fairly, this action is considered to be unjust even if the money is distributed to public schools, prisons or fire departments (Paul, Miller & Paul, 2005). However, many argue that absolute power that is encouraged by Nozick can bring about negative consequences such as oppression. For example, it is justified for a country to export all its food produce to another country in order to gain better profits and ignore the starvation experienced by its people. Meanwhile, Rawls theory of justice is called Justice as Fairness. There are two main principles in this theory. The first principle advocates that every individual should have equal rights to a fair distribution of social goods such as education, food and housing (Rawl, 1999). The second principle stresses if there is any existence of social and economic inequalities, they should benefit members of society who are at the most disadvantage (Rawl, 1999). Therefore, unlike Nozicks libertarianism, Rawl supports the redistribution of wealth and taxes to those who are socially and economically disadvantage. He believes that this action is just and promotes productive behavior. Many people argue Rawls theory of justice is too restrictive and procommunism.

Rights The rights theory finds that the best method to deal with ethical issues is to form a basis of obligations in order to justify every individuals entitlement to human rights (Shaw, 2010). Besides that, the rights theory also insists that human rights should be independent from the influence of other factors. Human right is simply the natural rights belonging to every person by virtue of being a human being (Shaw, 2010). There are two types of human rights; positive and negative rights. Positive rights are obligations put open people to provide goods and services to other people (Jennings, 2008). On the other hand, negative rights are obligations imposed on people to stop them from interfering with other peoples freedom of action (Jennings, 2008). One of the major arguments pertaining to the rights theory is the lack of hierarchy to determine which rights has more value than the rest. Ethical relativism Ethical relativism is a theory that decides whether an action is right or wrong solely based on the moral norms that adheres to the culture of ones society (Shomali, 2001). Therefore, an action can be seen as ethically right in one society does not mean it will be in another. Unlike Kantian deontology, ethical relativist believes that there is no such thing as a universal law when it comes to determining a set of maxim (Jhingran, 2001). Any sort of moral problems or disputes should be judged and handled within the members of a society by coming to an agreement (Jhingran, 2001). However, there are many people who argue against the theory of ethical relativism. Although moral practices may differ from one society to another but the underlying principles of these practices are the same (Shomali, 2001). As a result, skeptics consider the possibility of the universalization of ethical values to be conceivable. For example, every society acknowledges that certain actions are deemed wrong such as the act of torture and slavery. Besides that, individuals from the same cultural background can hold different moral beliefs as well as practices and decide that these actions are right or wrong (Shomali, 2001). Despite being widely accepted by the Nazi society, the genocide of Jews is considered to be ethically wrong by many Germans. This is proven when some of them try to help Jews to escape from their country. Ethical issues in the article News of the World: What was it like on the inside?

The article News of the World: What was it like on the inside? portrays the vicious competition among journalists and newspaper companies. When this situation happens, many individuals resort to unethical business practices in order to get ahead from the competitors (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2012). There are many reasons that can lead to unethical business behavior. Therefore, this section is going to identify various ethical issues that happen in a newspaper company called News of the World or NoW through the eyes of one of their journalists named Dan Arnold. One of the most obvious ethical issues is the pressure from the supervisors to get a story no matter what cost it takes (George, 2009). Journalists for this newspaper are pushed to obtain newsworthy material by hook or by crook. Since the competition between NoW with Sunday Mirror and People are tight, the company uses their journalists as a mean to get ahead and of course, to obtain a larger profit margin. Journalists from this newspaper have to work extra hard and are moved from one project to another without any consideration for their health. This action is considered to be unethical if it is based on Kantian deontology. He stresses that every individual should be treated with respect and should not be used as mean to reach an end. Besides that, the way NoW runs its company creates fear and paranoia in every journalists (Geroge, 2009). Their employees often have to work throughout the week and sometimes late into the evening. Apart from that, they also have to be on the pager 24 hours a day and they are expected to travel around the globe in a short period notice so that, they can catch the next big story. As a result of living in fear of getting terminated from the best newspaper company, journalists are often stressful and resort to drinking in order to curb with the pressure. Aside from that, the amount of time spend in offices also means they have neglected their families back home. This is considered to be unethical based on utilitarianism as the companys action of pushing their journalists to work harder does not bring the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people. It only serves to bring larger profit for the companys shareholders while sacrificing the happiness of their employees. Not just that, people outside of NoW are scared of the journalists from this company and more often not, give in to interviews and provide information that are required although they may feel reluctant to do so (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2012). This action is considered to be unethical based on the rights theory. These individuals or organizations have the freedom to say no to the journalists from NoW without any negative consequences that may be inflicted upon them by the massive influence of a successful company. Besides that, the action of firing journalists just because their stories are not publish in the newspaper is also against human rights. It is not the journalists faults if their stories are pushed aside by the newspaper committee for another piece that seems to be trendier due to a sudden change in circumstantial events. These journalists have also worked hard just like the others and deserve some sort of job security and protection from the newspaper company. In addition, there seems to be an unequal distribution of wealth between the profit gain by the newspaper company with their employees as well as between the journalists (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2012). For instance, journalists who successfully get their stories published are paid more in terms of salary and are also secure from termination. Based on Rawls theory of jus tice, this action is considered to be unethical. Every journalists in NoW has worked hard in order for

the newspaper company to succeed in the industry. Therefore, to be fair, salary should be equally distributed among the journalists. Furthermore, in NoW, journalists are awarded base on their success to get a juicy story for publication. There are instances whereby the company is willing to do anything in order to obtain the most current news. Sometimes, journalists are asked by NoW to offer cash and other bonuses such as cars as well as housing property to informants. This act of bribery can be seen as unethical based on the ethical relativism theory (George, 2009). In many societies around the world, bribing is against their moral norms. Although the company may view this action as a mean to get their hands on precious information, it may be conflicting to certain employees who do not support bribery. However, they will have to push their norms aside to avoid being fired from their jobs. Conclusion This paper has discussed the different ethical theories that are relevant to the business industry such as utilitarianisms pursuit of happiness, Kantian deontology in coming up with a universal law, Rawls and Nozicks definition of justice, human rights as well as ethical relativisms belief in conforming to societys cultural norms (Shaw, 2010). Various academic literature provided by these philosophers can be used as guidance when it comes to practicing business ethics. However, there is no one discipline that can stand on its own. This is because the theory that is presented by one school of thoughts is not sufficient or practical enough in overcoming a multitude of moral problems which exist in real life situation. Currently, many businesses choose to adopt interdisciplinary theories in order to achieve better outcomes in handling ethical issues (Shaw, 2010). References Ferrell, O. C. & Fraedrich, J. (2012). Business ethics: Ethical decision making & cases. Cengage Learning. Connecticut. George, R. (2009). Business ethics. Prentice Hall. New Jersey. Holzhey, H. & Mudroch, V. (2005). Historical dictionary of Kant and Kantianism. Scarecrow Press. Maryland. Jennings, M. (2008). Business ethics: Case studies and selected readings. Cengage Learning. Connecticut.

Application of utilitarianism to business ethics Employees and Employers In act utilitarianism any action is permissible given that it increases pleasure for the greatest number of people and a successful business does exactly this. Therefore, there is no correct way to treat employees. It is completely fine to exploit workers. Rule utilitarianism however differentiates between the material pleasures of the consumers and shareholders and the the higher pleasures of taking care of employees. This implies that there should exist a code of conduct on how to treat employees. Preference utilitarians look at all the

preferences and keeping workers happy is one of the companys preferences because it determines how motivated people are and hence the productivity of the firm. For this reason it is important to treat employees properly. Whistle-blowing is an acceptable activity for utilitarians because it produces pleasure for consumers, employees and the market. Business and Consumers According to Bentham all of the pleasures of consumers should be met as they are the biggest stakeholder and so a business should do everything they want e.g. lower price, provide customer service etc. Mill would say, obviously consumer happiness is important but this should not override the pleasures of employees who work for that business. Preference utilitarianism suggests that a mid-point should be found between this trade-off of consumers material preference and employees welfare preferences. The Ford Pinto case is where Ford realised that their batch of cars was faulty but still decided to sell them on the grounds that compensation was a lot cheaper. However, this raises questions about utilitarianism. In principle utilitarianism should agree what Ford did. The consumers were happy because they found compensation and so was the shareholders however this means that the faulty cars could have caused an accident and this makes utilitarianism a lesser consumer friendly ethical theory. Business and Globalisation This section is mainly concerned with cheap labour used overseas in places like India and China. Bentham as we can imagine would have no problem with this because

the pain of the group of employees is significantly less than the material happiness that consumers find from the products. Mill would be in total disagreement and would forbid child/slave labour as he said before the welfare pleasures of employees are much higher than any financial and material pleasures. Singers belief in human intrinsic worth would prevent humans from being utilized to make cheap products overseas. Business and the Environment This is similar to when we look at issues in environmental ethics. The environment for Mill and Bentham has no intrinsic worth only instrumental. Therefore, Bentham would suggest that businesses would have every right to exploit the environment as long as consumer pleasure was being met. Mill again would disagree and say, no, businesses are allowed to use the environment but in moderation and they should not exploit it because caring for the environment is a higher pleasure than destroying it. Singer believed that the environment has intrinsic worth and so he argues that businesses should limit the amount of damage they do and care about the environment. Strengths

Businessmen and women like Benthams version of utilitarianism because it provides an easy to use cost-benefit way of working out what is right and what is wrong. The purpose of satisfying the greatest good for greatest number seems logical, practical and realistic.

It is an egalitarian theory - no one person is worth more. (Well consumers are in act utilitarianism.) Weaknesses

The greatest good for greatest number, seems to be focused around greatest good for consumers which makes an unequal distribution of good arise. Not always possible to predict consequences or calculate utility particularly when large amount of data are required (particularly if this theory were to be used in reality). No common definition of good exists. It has some dangerous implications e.g. the subjection of workers There are mixed views which means it does not fit exactly in stakeholder or shareholder theory and makes it confusing.

Ethics and Justice


Ethics concerns what is morally right or wrong. Justice concerns what is legally right or wrong. Ideally, justice is ethical, and one assumes that doing what is ethical is legal. Justice cares about peoples rights, and righting wrongs when those rights are violated. Although Cain denied being his brothers keeper, we expect ethical standards and administered justice to function as a brothers keeper to someone (especially ourselves). Justice can be restorative (compensatory), requiring the wrongdoer to restore the innocent victim, to the extent possible, to the same (or a similar) condition the victim was in before the wrong was committed (such as paying to repair damaged property, paying hospital bills, returning stolen goods, etc.). Or, justice can be punitive (penal), punishing the criminals, as a matter of social morality, for the wrong committed (involving jail time, fines, loss of a drivers license, a criminal record, or even capital punishment). But sometimes the boundaries of what is morally right (ethical), individually and/or socially, are controversial. What about cloning, or artificial insemination, or various forms of contraception? What about informing human subjects that they are being experimented on for scientific or marketing research purposes? What about the use of deception by government officials (rationalized as required for national security, or to avoid a riot, or to promote a social injustice policy)? What about civil rights, discrimination, and the persecution of Christians? The Bible provides knowable answers to all of these moral decision-making questions, either directly or indirectly. The Bibles moral values are not like relativistic situational ethics. The Bible provides moral absolutes such as thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not murder, and as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

Rights, ethics and justice considerations

Rights, ethics and justice considerations


Despite the clear value of linking indigenous knowledge to action on climate change, it is important to consider how engaging with the communities who hold this knowledge may raise issues of rights, ethics or social justice. The ethically questionable expropriation of indigenous knowledge in industries such as pharmaceuticals underscores the importance of meaningful participation of indigenous communities in planning, approving and implementing processes that involve their knowledge or resources. Indigenous peoples are often highly marginalised within their own countries, and under-represented in international dialogues, meaning that questions of power and voice in such forums are important considerations. These concerns are currently under-examined in the field of climate change, but there are many lessons which can be drawn from other fields such as biodiversity and conservation.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Ethical Theories: Utilitarianism, Deontology, Virtue Ethics, Hobbes' Social Contract Ethical Theories: Utilitarianism, Deontology, Virtue Ethics, and Hobbes Social Contract.

Utilitarianism is a moral theory that argues that an action is right if and only if it conforms to the principle of utility. Founded during the Victorian era, its founder, Jeremy Bentham, came to believe that there was a need for society to rely on reason rather than metaphysics. The central tenet of utilitarianism is what is called the Greatest Happiness Principle. Because the human beings are rational self-interested creatures, says Bentham, they seek to maximize their pleasure and minimize their pain. Thus, a morally correct action is one which results in the greatest possible pleasure within a given set of circumstances. Set against utilitarianism is deontology. Deontologists are concerned with the concept of duty. That is, they are concerned with fulfilling (what they believe is) their moral duty whether or not it makes people happy. In short, deontologists hold that right actions are defined by duty. Once we know what it is that we are duty bound to do morally, then we can carry out this natural right action regardless of the consequences. What matters, they argue, is that we do what is right what is right, and what is right is that which conforms with moral law. One of the leading exponents of this theory is Immanuel Kant. For Kant, right actions are those which are done purely and simply from a sense of duty and not by following impulses, inclinations, or adherence to the Greatest Happiness Principle. Human beings, says

Kant, are, by nature, rational beings and as such need have a rational basis to their lives: they need to know what make right actions right. Ethics, he maintains, is concerned with identifying moral imperatives, and providing rational explanations as to why we should obey them. Central to Kants duty ethics is the view that right actions are those actions that are not instigated by impulses or desires, but by practical reason. Right action is right only if it is undertaken for the sake of fulfilling ones duty, and fulfilling ones duty means acting in accordance with certain moral laws or imperatives. To help us identify those laws which are morally binding Kant has provided us with the ultimate calculus: the categorical imperative which states Act only in accordance with the maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law. To the categorical imperative, Kant offers a codicil which relates specifically to human will; so act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means. Thus far we have seen that both utilitarianism and deontology hold different views in regard to what is most natural ethical theory. For utilitarians it is the Greatest Happiness Principle, whilst for Kant it is the Categorical Imperative. Now it is time to consider what has become known as the Virtue Theory. It is in his Nicomachean Ethics that Aristotle sets out his ethical theory (later to become known as Virtue Theory): his concept of what it is, for human beings, to live well. For Aristotle, the end or final cause of human existence is eudaimonia. Eudaimonia is most commonly translated as happiness, but a more accurate translation is flourishing. Aristotle believed that the desire to live a fulfilled life is part of what it is to be human. A eudaimon life is a life that is successful. It is important to relies that what Aristotle means by happiness/flourishing has nothing to do with physical pleasure, but is an activity of the mind/soul in accordance with virtue.(NB for the ancient Greeks, soul was a synonym of mind). For Aristotle there are two parts to the mind/soul: the intellectual and the emotional. Correspondingly, there are two types of virtue: intellectual and moral. Moreover, virtue, whether intellectual or moral, is a disposition (a natural inclination) of the mind/soul, which finds its expression in voluntary action -that is, it is consciously chosen. Moral virtue is expressed in the choice of pursuit of a middle course between excessive and deficient emotion, and exaggerated or inadequate action: this is the famous doctrine of the Golden Mean, which holds that each virtue stands somewhere between two opposing vices. Thus, courage or fortitude is a mean between cowardice and rashness; and temperance is the mean between licentiousness or profligacy and insensibility. Justice, or fairness,the most important virtue of the moral virtues, is also concerned with a mean in the sense that it aims at each person getting neither more nor less than his or her due. However, it is not like other virtues, flanked by opposing vices since any departure from the just mean, on either side, involves simply injustice. Moral virtue prevents disordered emotion from leading to inappropriate action. What decides, in any situation, what is appropriate action and the correct amount of feeling, is the intellectual virtue of prudence or practical wisdom (phronesis): this is the virtue of that part of reason that is concerned with action. The virtue of the speculative part of the reaction is learning, or philosophic wisdom (Sophia): this virtue finds its most sublime manifestations in more or less solitary contemplation (theoria). Supreme happiness, according to Aristotle, would consist in a life of philosophical contemplation. However, whilst this would be the ultimate in human fulfillment, it is also a life that is beyond the realization of mere mortals. The best we can aspire to is the

kind of happiness that can be found in a life of political activity and public magnificence in accordance with moral values. Following Aristotle, Warnock, in his The Object of Morality (1971), also takes the view that there is no universal criterion by which our actions can be classified as either right or wrong. It is clear, says Warnock, that moral principles may point in opposite directions, and I can pronounce no ground on which one could pronounce in general which is to predominate another. Virtue theorists, then, accept that human beings must be governed by moral principles, what they do not accept is the view that these principles are bound by moral absolutes or imperatives. For virtue theorists, it is not whether one answers to the demands of the categorical imperative, nor is it ones determination to opt for pleasure over pain that determines whether or not one is ethical, rather it is ones natural disposition to lead a virtuous life. Whilst deontology, or duty ethics, can be said to hold considerable merit, in that it advocates that human beings should be treated as ends in themselves rather than means to ends, I would argue that, as an ethical theory, it fails in that it looks on people, not as sentient beings, but as duty automatons. Moreover, an ethical theory, such as Utilitarianism, that advocates that the happiness of the majority takes precedence over the minority cannot be counted as a reliable ethical model. Thus, of the three theories discussed so far, it seems to me, by virtue of its rejection of closure in relation to what it is that determines right action, and its view that it is one's natural disposition to seek to lead a life of excellence, Virtue Theory is the closest we have come to identifying an ethical theory that requires the least alteration to allow us to lead an ethical life. However, before drawing this discussion to an end there is anotherethical theory that deserves consideration. These are the ethical theory set out by Thomas Hobbes in his magnum opus, Leviathan. Central to Hobbes thesis is the view that the human desire for peace is the motive that moves humans from the natural condition to civil society. Hobbes operates on the premise that all men are equal. Nature has created men so equal in faculties of body and mind that, when all is reckoned together, the difference between man and man is so slight that no man can claim superiority over another. Moreover, as to the strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination, or by confederacy with others, that are the in the same danger with himself. In this, hypothetical, state of equality there is no sovereign power, each man believing himself to be equal, is motivated purely by self-interest to preserve his own life and liberty, and also to acquire power over others. These desires are motivated by an innate impulse, or inclination, for self-preservation. In this natural condition of humans, says Hobbes, there arises conflict: a state of war of all against all and the life of man would be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Left to its own devices, says Hobbes, mankind would eventually destroy itself. The struggle for power, for no other reason than selfpreservation and self-interest, defines the natural condition of humans. Altruism, compassion and selfsacrifice find no place in Hobbes scheme of things. Hobbes wants to show that people in such a state of anarchy will naturally want to move to change their circumstances. To show how they might go about this he introduces four interrelated concepts: the state of nature, right of nature, law of nature, and the social contract. He presents us with the concept of a situation in which man is in a state of nature: a

state without a sovereign or common power to enforce rules and to restrain behavior is naturally a state that any reasonable man would want to move to a situation in which he could live in peace. The ambition of Hobbes Leviathan, then, is to show how man can move from a state of nature to a state of peace. For Hobbes, mans self-interest does not have to lead to a life of misery. By giving up certain rights, and adhering to certain rules, the individual can move to a situation of greater comfort, harmony and security. This can be achieved, says Hobbes, by surrendering certain rights to a sovereign power, who, in turn, would guarantee the conditions necessary to live a harmonious and commodious life. This could be achieved by entering into a social contract. If people were prepared to give up their individual rights to a powerful authority which could force them to keep their promises and covenants, then a peaceful, civil society could be formed. By virtue of the social contract a new political power could be created. Thus established people would now have an obligation and duty to obey the sovereign. In such a state, the sovereign would have to be empowered to use as much force as necessary to retain order, any failure to do so would entitle the subjects to remove the sovereign power and return to a state of anarchy. However, given that it is Hobbes view that people are naturally predisposed to prefer a state of peace to a state of nature a state of war of all against all it is to be felt that they would soon choose to elect a new sovereign and return to their harmonious and commodious lives.