Friday, May 15, 2015

A nation learning aircraft manufacturing by experimenting with a military aircraft is an example of consequentialism/utilitarianism

Think of China's Xian Y-20, a military transport aircraft. China isn't an expert in aircraft manufacturing, so it can experiment with this more safely, and with a lower-risk approach by first doing a military plane [fighter or tanker or transport]. In blunt words, this means that even if China initially loses a few of these military birds, the media/public uproar will be significantly lower owing to these being military planes, compared to if these had been regular civilian ones carrying fare-paying passengers. The news "10 PLAAF soldiers have perished in a Y-20 military transport plane crash." sounds far less alarming to the media/public/world than the news "An Air China Y-20 regional airliner has disintegrated during flight, with all 75 passengers presumed dead.".

All of this might sound unethical and wrong, but is very practical and this is how the world works, no matter how much we try to escape it or deny it. The key point here is that military planes are a sort of safer sandbox for Chinese - or any other - engineers to hone their design/manufacturing skills. Putting young men on crude, unforgiving and untested machines does seem unethical, and of course there will be casualties, and post these initial casualties and post skill development, the engineers will be ready to start designing and building planes for regular commercial flights, an area that's far more under the scanner of the media/public.

And since military planes usually carry far lower number of souls than civilian ones, this approach to learning aircraft manufacturing is fundamentally just another example of consequentialist morality, or utilitarianism.