Thursday, May 14, 2015

Trolley-Problem Variations for Entrepreneurs

The "Trolley Problem" is an ethical conundrum devised by British philosopher Phillipa Foot in 1967.  Along with  the so-called "Fat Man" variation, these thought experiments tends to whipsaw people from feeling confident about their ethical choices to wondering if they are being consistent at all.

If you've never played, here's a 90-second short from BBC Radio 4 that explains all:



There's also an interesting book by Thomas Cathcart in which he tries the case in the "Court of Public Opinion," and a longer Harvard lecture in which the conversation plays out.
  
Recently in McSweeney’s,  Kyle York wrote a laugh-out-loud send-up of the trolley problem.  I now consider him my inspiration for the following variations, designed to test your meddle as a modern entrepreneur.

Play on.