State University of New York Institute of Technology
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Super Storm Sandy — “Fairness” In Realville

this articles discusses the ethical distrubution of goods during a state of emergency. Specificaly it discusses the distrubution of gasoline during hurrican Sandy. Citing the three types of ethical distribution below:

  1. Proportionality: People should get access to gasoline in proportion to their contributions to society. Nobody is cheating or getting cheated.
  2. Equality: Everyone gets the same access to gasoline because everyone’s inputs are considered equal (or differences are insignificant).
  3. Procedural Fairness: Honest, open, and impartial rules are used to determine who gets what. In legal terms, we know this as due process.

The article goes into extreme depth as to what would be ethical distribution and the pros and cons of each, but the only real ethical distrubution would be to distribute to to community services such as police, firefighter, ambulances and taxis with top priority while limiting the consumption of regular people until a steady the community is restored and stable. Price gouging to limit consumption is absolutely unethical, but a cap on quantity may serve the purpose just fine. The ethics of distribution are extremely complex, sometimes the only way to avoid people taking advantage of the situation is to force equal distribution among everyone, but this is very inefficient.


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