Is It Ethical to Profit from a Natural or Man-made Disaster?

by Mendi C. Lowe, CET Engineering Services, Harrisburg, PA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 1, Pg. 75-76

Document Type: Feature article


When a natural disaster occurs, should engineers charge their usual fees? The winner of the Daniel W. Mead Prize for Younger Members addresses some ethical aspects of this question using a hypothetical case history of an earthquake in New York City. Lowe concludes that, immediately after a disaster strikes, ASCE should encourage members to volunteer and present them with opportunities to give of their time and services. Yet, during the following years of rehabilitation, ASCE should recognize that standard profit is ethical.

Subject Headings: Ethics | Profits | Man-made disasters

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