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Other titles in the Amnesty International Global Ethics series:
The Human Right to Health (Amnesty International Global Ethics)by Jonathan Wolff
Synopses & Reviews
Few topics in human rights have inspired as much debate as the right to health. Proponents would enshrine it as a fundamental right on a par with freedom of speech and freedom from torture. Detractors suggest that the movement constitutes an impractical over-reach. Jonathan Wolff cuts through the ideological stalemate to explore both views. In an accessible, persuasive voice, he explores the philosophical underpinnings of the idea of a human right, assesses whether health meets those criteria, and identifies the political and cultural realities we face in attempts to improve the health of citizens in wildly different regions. Wolff ultimately finds that there a path forward for proponents of the right to health, but to succeed they must embrace certain intellectual and practical changes. is a powerful and important contribution to the discourse on global health.
"University College London philosophy professor Wolff convincingly argues that good health care is a fundamental responsibility of governments to its citizens. Starting with John Locke in the 17th century, continuing to Eleanor Roosevelt in the mid-20th century, and ending with Melinda and Bill Gates today, Wolff (Disadvantage) artfully describes the bumpy, politicized road that advocates have traveled to add health to the American mantra of 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' In 1947, the World Health Organization took a major step when it asserted in its constitution that 'the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.' Putting health on equal footing with other human rights meant that governments had to take action in ensuring that all citizens could gain access to health care without discrimination. Wolff demonstrates how governments were seriously tested when the HIV/AIDS pandemic reared its ugly head in the early 1980s. Each generation is tested on its embrace of human rights as an article of binding faith, and, as Wolff reminds us, multilateral institutions like the World Bank can hinder governments from ensuring better health for their citizens. Most importantly, society must remain vigilant to ensure that no one is subject to discrimination based on his or her health status. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book News Annotation:
Is it realistic, or even useful, to view health as a universal human right? Wolff, director of the Center for Philosophy, Justice and Health at University College London, surveys ideological controversies over the human rights approach to health care on a global scale. He uses the case of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as an illustrative example. Although the author recommends cautious idealism for the human right to health, he does not shy away from the limitations of the concept and the political and cultural obstacles to actually achieving equal access to healthcare for all. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
An esteemed philosopher provides a shrewd examination of the future of the human right to health.
About the Author
Jonathan Wolff is a professor of philosophy and the director of the Centre for Philosophy, Justice and Health at university College London. He wrote a regular column for The Guardian in London, where he resides.
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