Self-sufficiency in Human Biological Materials

Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 3:59-65 (2018)
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Abstract

National self-sufficiency in human biological materials such as blood and organs is now commonly invoked as a goal for healthcare policy makers. Despite its history as a strategic response to the ethical hazards of global trade in human blood, the ethical dimensions of the concept have been inadequately explored. This paper introduces self-sufficiency as an ethical paradigm for policy-making and explores some of the parallels found in Aristotle’s account of autarkeia in the polis. It highlights the ethico-political challenges of pursuing self-sufficiency in culturally diverse societies and suggests that the motivation of donation through solidarity rather than the use of financial incentives is consistent with contemporary and ancient versions of the self-sufficiency model.

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Dominique E. Martin
Deakin University

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