Can we make sense of this fact in the light of the three major approaches in normative ethics?
- Consequentialism: Doing X is the right thing to do because the consequences of doing X will maximize well-being.
- Deontology: Doing X is the right thing to do because it is acting in accordance with a moral rule that can be universalized.
- Virtue Ethics: Doing X is the right thing to do because it would be virtuous (i.e., doing X would manifest a virtue, such as benevolence, generosity, honesty, etc.).
If we think of Tom Joad as "the good guy," despite the fact that his actions have harmful consequences, does it mean that being a good person does not consist in maximizing well-being? Alternatively, perhaps Tom Joad's actions have beneficial consequences after all; it's just that those consequences are not immediate.
What do you think?