Toward a Small Family Ethic: How Overpopulation and Climate Change Are Affecting the Morality of Procreation

Springer
Free sample

This thought-provoking treatise argues that current human fertility rates are fueling a public health crisis that is at once local and global. Its analysis and data summarize the ecological costs of having children, presenting ethical dilemmas for prospective parents in an era of competition for scarce resources, huge disparities of wealth and poverty, and unsustainable practices putting irreparable stress on the planet. Questions of individual responsibility and integrity as well as personal moral and procreative issues are examined carefully against larger and more long-range concerns. The author’s assertion that even modest efforts toward reducing global fertility rates would help curb carbon emissions, slow rising global temperatures, and forestall large-scale climate disaster is well reasoned and more than plausible.

Among the topics covered:

· The multiplier effect: food, water, energy, and climate.

· The role of population in mitigating climate change.

· The carbon legacy of procreation.

· Obligations to our possible children.

· Rights, what is right, and the right to do wrong.

· The moral burden to have small families.

Toward a Small Family Ethic sounds a clarion call for bioethics students and working bioethicists. This brief, thought-rich volume steers readers toward challenges that need to be met, and consequences that will need to be addressed if they are not.

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About the author

Travis N. Rieder, PhD, is a research scholar at Johns Hopkins' Berman Institute of Bioethics, where he also directs the Master of Bioethics program. Much of Travis's research is in the general area of procreative ethics, particularly concerning the morality of procreating in the era of climate change.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer
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Published on
Jun 23, 2016
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Pages
68
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ISBN
9783319338712
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Language
English
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Genres
Medical / Ethics
Medical / General
Medical / Public Health
Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
Social Science / Demography
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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This progressive resource places concepts of social determinants of health in the larger contexts of contemporary health ethics and the evolution of social reform. It provides needed analysis of the larger causes behind the immediate causes of illness and epidemics, particularly injustice, systemic inequities, and the cumulative effect of compound disadvantages. This moral approach to collective and individual responsibilities—on the part of practitioners as well as the public—supports a sound blueprint for finding answers to longstanding global and local concerns. Readers are challenged to recognize the critical role of social determinants to their perception of health issues, controversies, and possibilities as the book:· Details the epidemiologic evidence regarding social determinants of health.

· Key ethical implications of the evidence regarding social determinants of health.

· Considers the role of risky health behaviors in determining population health outcomes.

· Addresses ethical questions of priority-setting at the policy and practice levels.

· Translates social determinants of health into health policy goals.

Half textbook, half monograph, Public Health Ethics and the Social Determinants of Health Is geared toward students in MPH programs as well as public health professionals in diverse contexts such as local health departments and non-profit organizations. It informs public health scientists and scholars, and can also serve as an introductory text for students in public health ethics, or as part of a general applied ethics course.

In most developed countries, the epidemiological disease profile has changed from infectious to degenerative, causing major alterations in epidemiological thinking and public health policies. Less developed nations have to deal with a more complex situation, because social disparities create highly unequal health conditions, the affluent being afflicted by degenerative conditions, whereas the poorer social segments continue to suffer infectious diseases, but also begin to feel the effects of chronic illness. At the turn of the 21st century, equity in health care is not being served, and social justice has lost credibility as a conceptual driving force of public health policies. Rampant injustice confirms that theories, reality and suggested practices of just social orders are flawed, leaving the needy without help or hope in a world of flagrant ethical inadequacy. And yet, mainstream bioethics loses meaning and relevance as it clings to the principle of justice and hails such concepts as global justice and universal health-care equity, misleadingly focusing on justice as a desideratum. This book pleads for an urgent turn towards directly addressing injustice as a reality that requires pressingly needed arguments and proposals to inspire realistic public health policies and programs based on an ethics of protection. Ever since Hobbes, all shades of political philosophy accept that the basic obligation of the ruling power is to protect its subjects. The ethics of protection emphasizes aiding the needy and the disempowered in obtaining access to basic goods and services related to health-care. Public health is called upon to fulfill protective obligations to guarantee disease prevention and medical services to the population, taking special care to safeguard those unable to cover their health-care needs in market-oriented medical services and institutions. The bioethics of protection developed in this text presents specific and explicit guide-lines to assure that protective public health actions be efficacious (problem-solving), efficient (sustainable cost/benefit relation) and ethically sound (respecting human rights and the common weal). These guide-lines are designed to give ethical support and justification to public health policies even when they require some unavoidable limitations of individual autonomy to promote social health benefits.
From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.

Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.

The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers—and indeed the whole medical establishment—with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read Medical Apartheid, a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.
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