The 68′ Ford Pinto Case

An interesting read about the 68′ Ford Pinto and the subsequent lawsuits involving this model.

The Ford Pinto case is an interesting read about technological efficiency and how this impacts people’s lives. In brief: the 1968 Ford Pinto had several problems with the fuel tank and its accessories, issues that led to fatal accidents. The company has found solutions to these problems, but a cost/ benefit analysis revealed that it would cost the company $137 million to implement changes versus paying
$49.5 million to accident victims, families, or owners of damaged cars. The cost per car was 11 dollars. The cost of a lost life has been estimated at $200,725.

The lawsuits against the company sparked debates about efficiency vs ethics, allocative efficiency (how much is reasonable for a company to pay in order to being social benefits to a product), (strict) liability and standards of negligence, the ‘balancing’ method to determine liability, liability of the consumer vs liability of the producer and defective products.


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