Economism and the Unavoidable Activism of Bioethics

Examining medicine’s relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, and how health policy and cost containment in the U.S. may persuade one of two things: first, bioethics was born out of social activism and cannot escape its activist tendencies; second, an ideology (called economism, neoliberalism, and various other names) has seized control of much of American political and popular thought, and allows little space for a robust debate and analysis of many of the issues bioethics ought to be most concerned about. An unavoidable need for activism in bioethics today is to take on this ideology, reveal its defects, and call for alternative frameworks of thought that will allow important bioethical issues to be addressed in a more fruitful way.
Howard Brody, MD, PhD
Director of the Institute for the Medical Humanities, John P. McGovern Centennial Chair in Family Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston
Recorded March 26, 2013


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