A discussion of the defining ethical challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, featuring world-renowned experts in ethics, public health, law, economics, public policy, and beyond. Hosted by Joshua Preiss, Director of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at Minnesota State University, Mankato and the author of Just Work for All: The American Dream in the 21st Century (Routledge 2021). Visit pandemic-ethics.com for more information on recent and upcoming episodes.
Should Vaccination Be Mandatory?
Even as vaccines become more widely available there is serious concern that, due to persistent reluctance to get vaccinated, protection through herd immunity will be unattainable. This episode considers the ethical and legal principles involved in decisions to make vaccination mandatory. What would mandatory vaccination entail in the case of Covid? Should the same principles that apply to governments also apply to employers, universities, airlines, and other businesses and associations? Are there relevant differences between vaccinations for Covid and other infectious diseases, such as measles or polio? My guest is Roland Pierik, Associate Professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and a member of the Dutch Health Council.
Modeling the Covid-19 Pandemic
In this episode we consider the challenges of modeling the Covid-19 pandemic and the failure to collect data that enables more effective modeling. How is the admonishment to "trust the science" different in the case of Covid than the human impact on climate change? Did governmental decisions to impose lockdowns violate a duty to base those decisions on sufficiently robust scientific evidence? My guest is Eric Winsberg, Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Florida.
Responsibility for Debt and Crisis
Anahí Wiedenbrüg (Oxford) and I discuss responsibility for debt and crisis. Debt has risen dramatically as a result of the pandemic, with many countries likely to face sovereign debt crises in the years to come, even if they spend comparatively little keep their citizens safe, housed, and fed during the crisis. What principles ought to govern the repayment of such debt? What responsibilities do governments, private creditors, and non-governmental agents such as the International Monetary Fund have to ensure that the servicing of debt doesn't reproduce injustice and bring about further economic and humanitarian crises?
Covid, Poverty, and Intellectual Property
Economist Sanjay Reddy (New School for Social Research) and I discuss the impact of the pandemic on global poverty, the role that intellectual property plays in vaccine development and distribution, and the ethical and economic case for a "People's Vaccine." How might suspending existing understandings of intellectual property in the case of vaccines for Covid-19 - while compensating pharmaceutical companies for research and development - enable a more efficient distribution of the vaccine?
Covid-19 and the Future of Work
My guest is Daron Acemoglu, Institute Professor of Economics at MIT and the author (with James Robinson) of Why Nations Fail: Origins of Power, Poverty, and Prosperity and The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty. We discuss the impact of the pandemic on the welfare, power, and status of workers. In what ways is the pandemic accelerating trends toward greater automation and digitization in the economy, widening economic inequality and the increasing the capital share of the fruits of production? How does government policy actually encourage the adoption of labor-replacing technology? Why might institutional reforms be necessary to encourage worker-friendly innovation and create a free and inclusive post-pandemic economy?
In this episode we consider essential questions for the production and distribution of vaccines. What is the ethics of ongoing vaccine trials, including the unblinding of those who received a placebo, now that vaccines have been licensed for emergency use? Are current methods of vaccine distribution just and efficient? What can and should be done differently? My guest is Danielle Wenner, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University.
Great source of perspective!
Excellent podcast from an excellent academic and a truly great source of perspective!