Rationality and allocating scarce medical resources

In an article titled, "Who Shall Live When Not All Can?", James Childress proposes a system for allocating scarce lifesaving medical resources based on random selection procedures. Childress writes of random selection procedures, [They] "cannot be dismissed as a ‘non-rational’ and ‘non-human’... without an inquiry into the reasons, including human values which might justify it." My thesis is that once we concentrate on determining the rationality of random selection procedures, we will see that Childress's claim that we cannot dismiss such procedures as ‘non-rational’ is open to question. My claim will be that while both random selection and social worth procedures are rationally defensible systems, random selection procedures easily lead to specific choices that are objectively irrational, apart from the limited perspective of the random selection process itself. Keywords: allocation, random selection, rationality, rational decision-making, scarce resources, social worth CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/20.1.25
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