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Chapter 9

L48 Anthro 3283 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Thomas Pogge, Martha Nussbaum, Global Health

Course Code
L48 Anthro 3283
Benson Peter

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RGH Ch. 9 Values and Global Health
Moral Frameworks and Global Health
Greatest happiness principle
Jeremy Bentham and Stuart Mill (19th century philosophers) – actions were deemed good
if they maximized utility (defined as happiness, pleasure, or well-being) for as many
people as possible
Approach inspires progressive reform – women’s rights, welfare, inclusive democracy,
penal reform
May lead to tyranny of majority
How do we measure utility?
A more equitable distribution of medical care and spending would allow the world to lead
full lives in good health for the same cost; moves towards equity
Peter Singer – argument has 4 premises
oSuffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care are bad
oIf it is within our power to prevent something bad from happening without
sacrificing anything nearly as important, it is wrong not to do so
oBy donating to aid agencies, you can prevent suffering and death from lack of
food, shelter, and medical care, without sacrificing anything nearly as important
oTherefore, if you do not donate to aid agencies, you are doing something wrong
Peter Singer
oEmphasizes targeting “the poorest” and those “most in need” focusing on South
oHis approach leads to helping everyone live a slightly less miserable life, without
letting anyone live well
oWhat is the value of life?
Global income equality is greater today than it was during the 20th century
Cost-effectiveness – maximizing the impact of global health outlays; doing the greatest
good for the greatest number
oMaximizes utility after assuming scarce resources
oCan lead to pitfalls of “appropriate technology” – long-term substantial
investments required to strengthen health systems might be written off because
they are too expensive
Liberal Cosmopolitanism
Cosmopolitanism – “the idea that all human beings, regardless of their political
affiliation do belong to a single community, and that this community should be
John Rawls – “veil of ignorance” – individual doesn’t yet know the circumstances of the
life that awaits them
o“difference principle” – massive redistribution from rich to poor
orestricts argument to nation-state
Thomas Pogge – Rawlsian political liberalism
oCritiques global institutional order – says economic and political systems exploit
the poor to the advantage of the rich
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