Philosophical Question

Here's something to think about.

Say you're employed by a company that makes confectionary (candy / lollies / sweets / etc.). They have a particular product that comes in two colours, red and blue. Your job is to make sure that every packet of candy coming out of the machine has the same number of red and blue candies inside it. The machinery pumping out the candies gets progressively faster over time, and it gets to the point where you start to doubt your ability to accurately count the number of red and blue candies as the packets wiz by on the conveyor belt. You decide to quit your job in fear of making a mistake.

A few months later you purchase a packet of candy and notice that there are significantly more red candies than blue candies in the packet.

The question is: can you (morally) have a clear conscience?

Comments (6)

  1. Jeroen says:

    This reminds me of the blonde who got fired from the M&M factory for throwing out al the W’s 🙂

    But ofcourse you can have a clear conscience, since the factory is a company. If they don’t produce good candy they’ll just go bankrupt sooner or later, that’s basically "regulated" by the economy (or that’s the premise of capitalism anyway).

  2. Anonymous says:

    Personally having been in this situation myself (sans Candy) I did everything I possibly could to make the Candy Boss aware of the problems …. THEN I quit when they didn’t care. The problem on conscience is then not yours, you might *feel* like it’s your fault, but it’s really not. Not that I am advocating just trying to shift responsibility but it is the employees responsbility to ensure that those higher in the tree who can’t see what’s happening below are informed …. my 2p.

  3. "you start to doubt your ability to accurately count the number of red and blue candies "

    You can have a clear conscience if you verified your doubt by and assumption (that you actually WERE ineffective). What if you still were effective and only your self-assesment was incorrect? Measuring is the only way to tell. Further, did you exercise the full measure of your power in trying to ensure the balance? If you were not powerful enough to change the status quo, I think you can feel clear as otherwise the mandate was the company’s to maintain the balance.

  4. Peter Torr says:

    Thanks for the comments so far. I’m going to post a follow-up since I think the core of the idea might have been overshadowed by the details of the scenario (ie, it’s the company’s fault). I’ll post it soon 😉

  5. Observer says:

    Wasn;t this a Lucy episode??

  6. vinny-baby says:

    this has been buggin’ me forever. do you think laverne (or was it shirley) had a clear conscience after she left her glove on that bottle of beer?

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