Is cost-benefit analysis a legitimate tool and what role should it play in moral deliberation?Moral Issues in Business
Cost-benefit analysis is clearly a legitimate tool for businesses to use in deciding what actions to take. As Friedman has argued, the role of business is to make money and a cost benefit analysis is a very useful tool in figuring out how to do so.
When it comes to morals, however, cost-benefit analysis is much less useful unless one believes in utilitarianism. For most other understandings of morality, a person should not be asking "what do I gain and lose" when trying to figure out what to do. People should, instead, be asking "what's the right thing to do." Cost-benefit analysis can't really help with that.