Ethics & Society Newsfeed: February 17, 2017

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Politics

Trump Ethics Monitor: Has The President Kept His Promises?
To track Trump’s ethics-related promises, NPR checked debate transcripts, campaign speeches and press conferences

Trump’s South Florida estate raises ethics questions
Ethics questions and possible conflicts surrounding President Donald Trump’s frequent trips to his sprawling Mar-a-Lago property, especially in regards to the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, over the weekend; a trip Trump pledged to pay for.

Should Jeff Sessions Recuse Himself From the Russia Inquiries?
Bruce Green, director of the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics at Fordham University, comments on whether Attorney General, Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from investigations involving former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn and Russian hacking.

Trickle-Down Ethics at the Trump White House
Federal ethics guidelines forbid White House officials from using public position and power for their own private gain or to promote the private business interests of others. Trump Administration actions to be reviewed by the White House counsel and by the Office of Government Ethics.

Government Watchdog Presses Jason Chaffetz To Investigate Kellyanne Conway Himself
Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, requested that The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) investigate Kellyanne Conway’s possible breach of federal ethics rules, indicating that the Chairman may be trying to take pressure off his own committee, which has the most authority to investigate the matter.

Ethics Watchdog Denounces Conway’s Endorsement of Ivanka Trump Products
Federal government’s chief ethics watchdog calls for White House adviser, Kellyanne Conway, to be disciplined after publically endorsing Ivanka Trump’s product line.

Bioethics/Medical Ethics

Scientists ponder future of gene editing to fight disease
Ethical issues surrounding breakthroughs gene editing to fight genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and cancer.

When doctors kill: Stent scam and decline of Pakistan’s bioethics
Latest scandal amongst Pakistan’s medical community, who receive no ethics training in medical school, involving faulty cardiac stents.

Cancer drugs price rise ‘costing NHS millions’
Possible reasons for why prices for cancer drugs have risen sharply, and notes the steps European countries are taking to make sure costs decrease.

Avoiding the slippery slope of unethical behavior
Sporting an orange prison jumpsuit and handcuffs, Chuck Gallagher declared, “Every choice has a consequence.” He later ditched the get-up as he gave his speech on ethics, but the former convicted felon—now a business ethics speaker—intended to drive home a point. His message boiled down to this: People cheat when they have a chance, but when issues of honesty versus rationalization are openly discussed, people dramatically reduce or stop cheating.

Business

Market Milking and Research Troubles
“People mostly think that Wall Street banks are evil, and so this conflict of interest is often described as something nefarious that the banks do: They inflate their ratings, giving Buys to companies that are really Sells, in order to win investment banking business. This, I think, is mostly not true, though it used to be, and though there are other considerations that do lead banks to give lots of companies Buy ratings. But the conflict obviously exists.”

A New Robo-Adviser Lets You Build Portfolios That Shun Guns and Oil Shares
Startup OpenInvest aims to build portfolios tailored to its customers’ values.
“Users click through a series of menus to create an “issue profile,” checking boxes to select investment themes—such as gender equality or reduced carbon emissions—as well as groups of companies to exclude. …Former hedge funders are bringing social responsibility to online investment advising, with some added cost and complexity.”

Religion

Ethics can make winners, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed says
At the World Government Summit, February 12-14, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed “praised the countries that prioritize ethics and integrate it into their everyday lives, adding that Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, sent a team to countries such as Japan and Canada which teach ethics as part of their education system.”

Technology

The moral dilemmas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Call for a global code of ethics in order to cope with the technological era we now live in, which is being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Technical Challenges in Machine Ethics
Machine ethics offers an alternative solution for artificial intelligence (AI) safety governance. In order to mitigate risks in human-robot interactions, robots will have to comply with humanity’s ethical and legal norms, once they’ve merged into our daily life with highly autonomous capability. In terms of technical challenges, there are still many open questions in machine ethics.

Environmental Ethics

Physicians’ Duty to Be Aware of and Report Environmental Toxins
Commentary by Gina M. Solomon, MD, MPH, and Steven R. Kirkhorn, MD, MPH in American Medical Association (AMA) Journal of Ethics

Ireland votes to divest public money from fossil fuels
At the end of January Ireland voted to divest public monies from fossil fuels, and this article cites ethics as the driving force behind the decision.

Animal Ethics

The secret trade in baby chimps
After a lengthy investigation, BBC exposes an elaborate chimpanzee smuggling operation.  Chimpanzees are an endangered species, and the sting operation tackles many ethical quandaries including treatment of animals and violating international law.

Ethics & Society Newsfeed: February 3, 2017

 

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Politics

Betsy DeVos’s ethics review raises further questions for Democrats and watchdogs
Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee to lead the Education Department, promised to divest from more than 100 entities to avoid potential conflicts of interest with her new job. Questions left unanswered.

Donald Trump warned over ‘unprecedented’ plan to appoint cabinet without ethics office checks, emails reveal
Disclosed emails from the head of the ethics office warn President aides staffing a cabinet with robust oversight is a ‘tradition evolved as a result of hard lessons’

South Dakota Governor Signs Measure Reversing Voter Ethics
Governor of South Dakota signed a bill Thursday overturning an anti-corruption measure passed by a majority of voters in November, to the consternation of government watchdog groups.

Trump And His Organization Lawyer Up For The Ethics War Ahead
President Trump and the Trump Organization are beefing up their legal teams against an expected surge of conflict-of-interest allegations.

Teaching Ethics In The Trump Era
Graduate-level professor asks how to tell students ethics is important when “nothing around them feels ethical” re: Trump administration and conflicts of interest.

Bioethics

Human-pig hybrids might be unsettling. But they could save lives.
A new study out of California unsettled a lot of people last week after revealing that scientists had, for the first time, made part-human, part-pig embryos — referred to as “chimeras.” Raises ethical questions.

Could changing the way doctors are paid help narrow health disparities?
A study suggests that changing the way doctors and hospitals are paid could narrow some of the health disparities between poorer and wealthier patients.

Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Could Shape Bioethics for Generations
Neil Gorsuch, nominee for the US Supreme Court, has spent his career weighing matters of life and death. His views on life—that it is sacred and “intrinsically valuable”—are likely to shape court decisions in areas from abortion to assisted suicide for decades to come.

The Truth About How Parents Like Chrissy Teigen Can “Pick” The Sex Of A Child
Celebrity sparks discussion on picking sex of a child using IVF technologies.

Why Tom Price’s Biotech Stock Has Medical Ethicists Worried

Trump’s nominee for health and human services secretary, Tom Price (R-Ga) questioned over conflict of interest in his trading in health care company stock which may violate “congressional ethics regulations.”

Doctors prescribed me pain meds but couldn’t help me get off them
Should physicians be required to assist in treatment of foreseeable side effects after prescribing pain medications?

Environmental Ethics

Ethical Environmental Tourism Is The Future
Five things to consider when travelling if you want to make a difference in the lives of animals

World’s poorest countries to aim for 100% green energy
Representatives from 47 of the world’s most disadvantaged nations have pledged to generate all their future energy needs from renewables.

Religion

The Myth That Christianity Provides Ethical Guidance
Explicitly Christian signs have featured prominently in the recent protests against President Donald Trump’s immigrant and refugee ban: “Love thy neighbor.” “Jesus was a refugee.” “You call yourselves Christians?”

Christian Leaders Question Trump’s Promise To Favor Christian Refugees
President Trump is promising to give priority to Christians fleeing persecution — yet some of the strongest criticism of his executive order is coming from Christian leaders themselves.

Business and Social Media

Another Live-Streamed Suicide Puts Spotlight on Social Media Ethics
A teenage girl committed suicide early Sunday morning while streaming live on Facebook, the latest disturbing incident to be spread via social media.

Facebook Doesn’t Need a Chief Ethics Officer
Mark Zuckerberg insisted that fake news on Facebook played no role in electing Trump. But Facebook recently hiring former TV news journalist Campbell Brown to develop a different approach to editing, curating, and filtering news.

The Surprise Ethics Lesson of Wells Fargo
The scandal that recently enveloped Wells Fargo teaches an important lesson about running an ethical business.

Artificial Intelligence

Apple joins research group for ethical AI with fellow tech giants
As artificial intelligence becomes an increasingly powerful force, some of the world’s biggest companies are worrying about how the technology will be used ethically, and how the public will perceive its spread.

Whatever happened to the DeepMind AI ethics board Google promised?
Google bought the artificial intelligence company three years ago, part of the deal was setting up an ethics board –  where is it?

Fashion

Most people don’t care about ethical fashion
Study from 2016 finds that “astonishing number of people are not interested in taking ethics into consideration when making fashion purchases.

Ethical Fashion Becomes The Rule. The Celebrity Wishmaker Simonetta Lein Meets Designer Ilaria Venturini Fendi
Fashion can lead us to a cultural revolution where what we wear can be sustainable, with a story, representing our values and dreams. Simonetta Lein

Sustainable and hi-tech fashion at Berlin’s Green and Ethical Show
This year a record 179 fashion brands took part in Berlin’s Green and Ethical Show.

Ethics & Society Newsfeed: October 14, 2016

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Health Care and Bioethics

DNA database highlights need for new medical privacy protections
Creation of a national repository of genetic information is seen by some as crucial to reducing medical costs and improving people’s healthcare.

‘Big data’ could mean big problems for people’s healthcare privacy
Public and private insurers are spending millions of dollars on systems that can predict people’s future healthcare needs.

Colorado Wrestles With Ethics Of Aid In Dying As Vote Looms
Colorado man says he would like the option to end his life rather than face a painful death and advocates for Colorado’s Proposition 106  or “death with dignity.”

The NIH needs to review the ethics of research on primates
Congress asked the National Institutes of Health to review “its ethical policies and processes” on nonhuman primate research “to ensure it has appropriate justification for animal research protocols.”

Breast Cancer Death Rates Are Down, But Racial Disparities Persist
Women are less likely to die of breast cancer than they were a decade ago, but not all women are benefiting from that trend.

Continue reading “Ethics & Society Newsfeed: October 14, 2016”

Ethics & Society Newsfeed: September 30, 2016

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Technology and Ethics

Tech Giants Team Up To Tackle The Ethics Of Artificial Intelligence
The Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, consisting of Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and IBM (with Apple in talks to join), weighs in on the missing ethics standards in artificial intelligence.

Fourth Industrial Revolution: With robots, is a life without work one we’d want to live?
“Being gainfully employed is about more than money. We need to consider what will give our lives purpose and connection in the age of automation.”

Should we bring extinct species back from the dead?
New advances in genetic engineering have researchers thinking seriously about de-extinction and which animals we might be able to bring back.

Bioethics and Public Health

Birth of Baby with Three Parents’ DNA Marks Success for Banned Technique
Experts discuss the first successful mitochondrial donation procedure and why the term “three-parent baby” is misleading.

Human Chimera Research’s Huge (and Thorny) Potential
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reversed policy barring funding from research involving human chimeras (mixtures of human cells with animal embryos) which can yield major human development discoveries.

Ethics review identifies top two challenges for genome editing
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics reports a need for urgent ethical scrutiny on new genome editing techniques.

Bioethics in the Election: Where the Candidates Stand
The major presidential candidates’ positions on bioethics-related issues in The Hastings Center’s interactive chart.

Continue reading “Ethics & Society Newsfeed: September 30, 2016”

Jailing for Dollars: The Federal Government Takes Steps to Eliminate a Moral Stain on Justice in the US

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The United States has become the world’s leading jailer with 2.2 million people in jails and prisons across the country.  With a combination of government and privately run facilities, the nation faces the moral issues surrounding the prison-industrial complex.  As reflected in a recent New York Times article, the U.S. Justice Department has announced plans to phase out the use of privately run facilities, citing less safe conditions than their government run counterparts.

In the Obama administration’s continuing efforts to address inequities in the criminal justice system The U.S. Justice Department announced plans to phase out its use of privately operated prisons, calling them less safe and a poor substitute for government-run facilities.  According to Celia B. Fisher, Director of the Fordham Center for Ethics Education “this is a welcome step toward addressing the inequities produced by a public-private system that incentivizes high incarceration rates with devastating effects on poor and minority communities.

Fordham University Center for Ethics Education brought attention to this issue in a conference on “Jailing for Dollars: The Moral Cost of Privatizing Justice” featuring Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times, Scott Cohn, NBC, Thomas Giovanni, Brennan Center for Justice, Judith Greene, Justice Strategies and Michael Jacobson, Vera Institute of Justice. Speakers explored pressing moral questions about the prison-industrial complex, including dangerous overcrowding, unsafe work and health conditions and its consequences on individuals, families and society at large.

To watch the video of this conference, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to play.

Celia B. Fisher, Ph.D. is the Fordham University Marie Ward Doty University Chair in Ethics and Director of the Center for Ethics Education. Fisher’s  Decoding the Ethics Code: A Practical Guide for Psychologist, is now in its fourth edition from Sage Publications.

Ethics & Society Newsfeed: April 8, 2016

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Can we trust robots to make moral decisions?
Last week, Microsoft inadvertently revealed the difficulty of creating moral robots.

Why Bioethics Has a Race Problem
Moral imagination in bioethics has largely failed African Americans.

The disturbing reason some African American patients may be undertreated for pain
African Americans are routinely under-treated for their pain compared with whites, according to research.

Continue reading “Ethics & Society Newsfeed: April 8, 2016”

Ethics & Society Newsfeed: April 1, 2016

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Heroin Epidemic Is Yielding to a Deadlier Cousin: Fentanyl
Cheaper and far more potent, the synthetic painkiller is becoming the drug of choice for some addicts — and is killing them more quickly.

Who’s “They?”
We are witnessing a great explosion in the way that human beings are allowed to express their gender identities. We are also hearing a lot of awkward conversations. What are we supposed to call everyone?

Hunting the Genetic Signs of Postpartum Depression With an iPhone App
With mothers and medical providers clamoring for answers about postpartum depression, scientists are beginning a major effort to understand the genetic underpinnings of mood disorders that afflict millions of women during and after pregnancy.

Continue reading “Ethics & Society Newsfeed: April 1, 2016”