Oil and morality

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Peter Jones (Perspective, 9 
December) lays bare the stark economic reality of the likely 
effects of falling oil prices.

Interestingly, what is of key economic and political concern is also an issue in applied ethics.

Simply put: “Ought we welcome or deplore the fall in price of oil and petrol?”

Perhaps one’s moral view is shaped by circumstances of where one lives and by one’s job.

One should also bear in mind that a moral view and a political one are typically inextricably 
intertwined in policies.

What, for instance – knowing full well a falling oil price could mean drastic job losses, especially in the North-east – are the moral and political stances of candidates for the Gordon seat?

Yet a policy seeking to raise oil and petrol prices could well antagonise consumers who are also voters – assuming, of course, that anything can be done given the power of the global oil 

Arguably, it could be that 
ethically we have to apply the utilitarian test of the “greatest benefit of the greatest number”.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk