Resources are finite and we as humans are greedy, if there’s a chance to profit, assuming we do it within legal bounds, we would probably do it. But would it be unethical to do so?
Your mind is probably rushing to say “Yes, it is”, but even when the answer seems obvious, I think we should see other perspectives.
Ethics is defined as the set of moral values that govern our behavior. For one person, lying could be against his moral values without any exceptions. But, for someone else, lying for “greater good” could be seen as no issue.
Everyone is brought up differently, so aren’t ethics different depending on the society, culture? Would there be any difference in ethics between a law-obeying society and a lawless society with a dog-eat-dog culture?
I suppose it all comes down to what we think and it’s really simple that way too. So, coming back to the question:
Yes, Profiting From Shortage of Supplies Won’t Be Ethical
It’s safe to assume most readers here are from a society built on morals where laws are enforced. So from a normal perspective:
Trying to make an unreasonable profit from supplies which people need right now, especially during a shortage would be incredibly unethical. Mainly because you’re trying to exploit a person’s needs for profit.
Although we see this frequently in corporate world anyways whose sole purpose is to make more and more profit, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s an unethical practice.
Does Profiting From Shortage in Desperation Make It Any Better?
Let’s say, a poor person in a lawless society, just happens to have the supplies that are short in the back-end.
He could feed his family with better food if he tries to profit from shortage of supplies. Does this context makes it less unethical if he chooses to do so?
In the end, I think there’s many similar instances where instead of deciding if it was a good thing or bad thing, we just feel pity that it had to be like this.
One wrong certainly doesn’t fixes another but there’s a lot of unfairness and injustice in the world. This make such cases frequent as people discard all morals, ethics in desperation.
It can also be argued that the society has failed to provide for its most vulnerable members. Reaching to a point where less, and in an ideal world, none would reach such desperation, would be the best to eliminate such cases.
If you liked this post, you may be interested in another post like Does stealing bread to feed your family make it OK or would you consider them a bad person? Reasons explained on How we justify wrong things, especially if done in desperation.