The Movie 21 Essay

614 words - 3 pages

“Hit Me!”: An Analysis of Ethics in the Movie 21

Michael Breward
BU 456: Computer Audit
Sarah Guirguis
November 21, 2008

MIT student Ben Campbell is admitted into Harvard Medical School, but he cannot afford the $300,000 tuition. His only alternative is to win the extremely competitive Robinson Scholarship by writing an essay that will make him stand out from other applicants. Recognizing Ben’s intelligence, his professor invites him to join his card counting club. Ben joins the team with the intention to do it until he can pay his tuition. As the team’s fortune grows, Ben becomes greedy, at which point, his luck turns into adversity and he is left with nothing except an adventurous experience to dazzle the scholarship administrator; successfully securing the Robinson scholarship. Was this success truly merited, or were Ben’s unethical actions simply ...view middle of the document...

He finds that his winnings have been stolen and learns that his professor has academically failed him. Ben’s unhealthy addiction to money and his rebelliousness has left him penniless, incapable of graduating, and as a result, unable to become a doctor to help a great number of people.

The Golden Rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a predominant ethical teaching, universally followed across cultures and religions. Having said this, it is apparent that Ben is defying his own ethics. The wealth he has acquired from the casino is unmerited. By the same token, this unmerited wealth is taken from him by the professor. This leaves Ben furious and panic-stricken, yet the professor’s action merely replicates Ben’s unethical approach to obtaining the money in the first place.
Under a social welfare approach, an individual’s values and morals are a subconscious code of conduct for what is right and wrong. When people act on this code of conduct, it translates into their own ethics based on whether they follow the ‘right’ path. Ben was very reluctant to join the professor’s card-counting team, thus implying that his intuitive code was advising him to reject the offer. If he believed his actions were ethical, he would not have second-guessed himself as this presented him with the opportunity to fulfill his Harvard dream. His ultimate decision to join the team was undoubtedly in opposition with his own ethics.
In Conclusion, it is obvious that Ben was not the most superb candidate for the prestigious Harvard scholarship. While in the business of counting cards, Ben challenged several ethical theories, including his own morals. Despite the legal facet of counting cards, it is perceived by popular culture as an unethical affair. Rewarding an unethical individual, Harvard Medical School made a grave mistake. Future applicants may now place themselves in more severe circumstances, surpassing ethics and going against judicial law, just to ‘dazzle’ the Dean. Ben’s unethical behaviour will most likely follow him in his doctorate practices, where it can have severe implications.

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