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Engineering Ethics and Social Responsibilities

Essay by   •  December 14, 2011  •  Essay  •  2,673 Words (11 Pages)  •  2,101 Views

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There are many things that go into being a great engineer, no matter what type of engineer that one is. It starts off first with getting a good education and being able to think outside of the box. Along with the education that one gets they also get trained on the ability to make logical and appropriate decisions. This is where the moral and social responsibilities start to emerge inside of an engineers mind.

One of the many jobs as an engineer is to make lives simpler for people, however the real questions is how can an engineer go about this in a way that is always going to have the best result for man kind. This is where things begin to start getting interesting. In this essay we will examine a few different situations that can arise with in engineering fields along with look a few ways that good moral and social choices should be made with in the engineering field. We will also take a look at who is responsible for releasing information if there is something that could be life threatening for people.

When looking at the social responsibilities of an engineer one might ask what responsibilities do they and should they have. Being that one of the main goals of engineering is to make life easier on people, things start to become more mechanized, and meaning there is less need for human interaction to complete a task. For example there is internet shopping now so many people do not even leave there homes to get there shopping done they just sit at their computer and order what they want and it gets delivered to there house. However what happens to those people who worked in the stores that one would go to, to do there shopping before the internet? Since there are not as many people coming in the store now, there is less need for so many people to be working there at the same time. Therefore there is a loss of jobs, however in some warehouse somewhere there are people working there to pull things out box them up and ship them to the person that ordered them. In this cause there is a chance that jobs were given to some people and taken away from others which leaves a good balance for what is going on in the world today.

However the advancements in technology can be bad at some times as well. Think of a factory setting where there is hundreds if not thousands of people that work there. Say that the technology was there and that it was implemented so that there was not a need for human interaction until the final product was assembled and ready to be shipped, well for that matter all this might be able to be done with out human interaction as well if the technology is there. There would be a lot of people that would loose there jobs because a company would be making more money in the long run by implementing this new technology where they do not have to pay anyone to do the jobs of so many people. There would only end up being a few people left to make sure that everything is performing as it should and someone there to be able to repair the machines when they do end up going down. This is something that would be very detrimental to a society because a lot of the towns that factories move into end up supplying most off the income to that town or city. There for there will end up being a lot of unemployment, no taxes because there are not enough jobs that are available for the number of people that left. This just starts a down turn in the entire economy of this town, it went from job security and people being able to live a decent life to a town that now has no money in it as well as property values dropping due to the unemployment rate, and the city not being able to maintain a lot of what it owns and runs because the tax dollars are just not there anymore.

Looking at this from the point of view from the company can be a major benefit to them. There is less overhead to produce the products that they are making. They do not have to pay for health benefits or retirement anymore. This would save the company so much in the long run allowing them to make a bigger profit or even drop the prices of there products making them one of the suppliers that everyone wants to go to because of the lower cost of their product. However even though this is something that can benefit the company in many ways is it a moral thing to do? The answer to this would have to be no because only one thing is reaping the benefits to this change, and it is destroying what made it the company that it was before the new technology. Just sit there and think about how many different generations of family had worked at that plant to be able to provide the life that they wanted their family to have, and to now just take all that away from them and tell them sorry about your luck. Take for example the mining towns and gold rush towns that are now ghost towns because of their jobs getting taken away from them. This is pretty much what would end up happening to the towns that relied on the work that the factory was supplying to them. People need to leave the town to find other work which drops the profits of all the store restaurants and businesses that tried to stay even though the factory let everyone go for the most part. The other businesses will end up shutting down or moving to be able to keep their profits up. Thus the city is out even more tax money and will not be able to stay around for much longer.

The factory is one of the biggest responsibilities for production engineers. Engineers want to be able to ensure that they will always have a job as well as people that they work with. This is something hard to do when one is giving a cost down project. The easiest way is to say we do not need these employees anymore, yet this is not the most ethical decision that can be made. Improve processing and the scrape rate to be able to accomplish the goal that needs to be achieved. However sometimes the loss of employees has to happen but not at a rate of everyone at the same time for over a period of months. The monitoring of technology as well as being able to maintain employees at the same time is a social responsibility of an engineer to be able to keep the town that they are in alive and flourishing are at least at the state that it is currently in.

Profitability is one of the things that leads in the way of what engineers do and what materials and process that are used to be able to produce there product. This bears the question that is moral to use a different material than one would prefer to use for safety reasons in a product. Take for example in a power steering pump in an automobile. Say the material that is currently being used is in current production pumps is ok for them, but with the higher relief pressures and higher revolutions per minuet cause temperatures to rise in fluid getting very close to the temperature which that part starts to melt or become pliable, is it ok to keep the same part in there? This is something that I have experienced

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