Development aid: On ontogeny and ethics

Human development is a matter of complex interactions between nutritional regimes, genes, educational regimes and other diverse developmental resources. I argue that there is no ethically salient difference between the contributions made to development by genes and the contributions made by these other resources. Since we think nutrition and schooling should be included in the calculus of distributive justice, we should include at least some genes in this calculus too. What is more, under the right circumstances genetic engineering may become a useful tool for the distribution of developmental resources. This said, attention to the parity of genetic and environmental causation can also help to articulate the legitimate suspicions many groups have of genetic engineering.
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