Germ-line Enhancements and Rough Equality

Ethical Perspectives 19 (1):55-82 (2012)
Enhancements of the human germ-line introduce further inequalities in the competition for scarce goods, such as income and desirable social positions. Social inequalities, in turn, amplify the range of genetic inequalities that access to germ-line enhancements may produce. From an egalitarian point of view, inequalities can be arranged to the benefit of the worst-off group (for instance, through general taxation), but the possibility of an indefinite growth of social and genetic inequality raises legitimate concerns. It is argued that inequalities produced by markets of germ-line enhancements are just if it they are embedded in a framework of social institutions that satisfies two conditions: (i) Rawls’ Difference Principle, which states that inequalities of income and wealth should benefit the worst-off group; (ii) the lexically prior 'principle of rough equality', which states that citizens’ initial life-chances should be similar enough, so that extreme inequalities in income, wealth and power are not produced or accumulated through institutions justified by the Difference Principle. The principle of rough equality replaces the Rawlsian principles of the Fair Value of the Political Liberties and Fair Equality of Opportunity in a post-genomic society and expresses a concern with background political equality, which is argued to be a condition of the freedom and equality of citizens that should not be traded off with material benefits. Extreme inequalities are defined in terms of political equality.
Keywords Genetic enhancement  Justice  Equality of opportunity  Gene-therapy
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,470
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Larry A. Alexander (1985). Fair Equality of Opportunity. Philosophy Research Archives 11:197-208.
Colin Farrelly (2004). The Genetic Difference Principle. American Journal of Bioethics 4 (2):21 – 28.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

31 ( #155,143 of 1,925,586 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #212,047 of 1,925,586 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.