Tag Archives | Ethics

Hospitals Begin Planting Debt Collectors In Emergency Rooms

254668516_97856d3d0fThe New York Times reports on a new model of emergency care—debt collectors posing as medical staff:
Hospital patients waiting in an emergency room or convalescing after surgery are being confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside. This and other aggressive tactics by one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debts, Accretive Health, were revealed on Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general, raising concerns that such practices have become common at hospitals across the country. To patients, the debt collectors may look indistinguishable from hospital employees, may demand they pay outstanding bills and may discourage them from seeking emergency care at all. The attorney general, Lori Swanson, also said that Accretive employees may have broken the law by not clearly identifying themselves as debt collectors...
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Is War Porn A Natural By-Product of War?

Lynndie EnglandJoanna Schroeder wonders whether war porn is deviant, or a natural by-product of teaching young people to kill, on the Good Men Project:

The nation was shocked when we learned of more supposed bad behavior by US troops overseas, in the form of posing with the bodies of dead enemy combatants. This isn’t shocking news though, is it? It’s been happening since the beginning of this war, and as far as we know, as long as war has been happening, in one form or the other.

In a fascinating Salon.com piece, former infantry soldier and combat veteran John Rico an insider’s perspective on the function of so-called war porn, and wonders what it is about society that makes us so shocked to learn that young people who’ve been trained to fight and kill since they were 18 years old have reveled in the death of their enemies:

I have to say that I find all the political and polite posturing to be quite amusing.

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Is Evil a Derivative of Good?

DualityJeremy John writes at the Good Men Project:

I constantly meet people wherein we eventually have the following exchange:

(them) “Oh, you’re a Christian, doesn’t that make you judgmental?”

(me) “Any value system causes a person to believe that some things are right and others wrong.”

(them) “No, not mine. I don’t believe in Universal Truths. To do so would be judgmental. That is, I judge only those that believe in something. The ultimate wrong is to attempt to convince another of your own point of view. By the way, WTF, how are you a Christian? Hello, Crusades?!?!”

By this point I always feel thoroughly annoyed but I am glued to this same intellectual train wreck, as always, unable to look away.

In order to confront the great injustices of this world, we must first root ourselves in satyagraha, or, truth firmness. That is, in order to move outwards to change the world we must first know what we ourselves believe. 

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‘Fair Trade’ iPhones?

iPhonesFair Trade labels, are an increasingly a common sight on food stuffs like coffee, bananas, sugar, tea and chocolate. While the labeling system is an imperfect mediator to global disparity and injustice, it does help traditional farmers moderate their standard of living. However, given the complex and multiple processes involved in the production of new technologies like phones, mp3 players, and laptops — is ‘fair trade’ technology even possible? Reports Ryan Huang on ZDNet Asia:

There may be a market for more ethically sourced and produced electronics driven by the increased public scrutiny and awareness over labor issues and related concerns over the sector, say industry observers. However, some express reservations over the feasibility of implementing a fair trade model in the industry.

The electronics manufacturing industry came under the spotlight following a series of suicides involving Foxconn workers in a Chinese factory, which manufactures devices for major brands such as Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Samsung.

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Upper Classes ‘More Likely to Lie and Cheat’

John Bingham writes in the Telegraph:

Members of the upper classes are more likely to lie, cheat and even break the law than people from less privileged backgrounds, a study has found. In contrast, members of the “lower” classes appeared more likely to display the traditional attributes of a gentleman.

It suggests that the traditional notion of the upper class “cad” or “bounder” could have a scientific basis. But psychologists at the University of California in Berkeley, who carried out the study, also suggested that the findings could help explain the origins of the banking crisis – with self-confident, wealthy bankers more likely to indulge in reckless behaviour.

The team lead by Dr Paul Piff, asked several groups of people from different social backgrounds to perform a series of tasks designed to identify different traits such as honesty and consideration for others …

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Are We Ready For A Morality Pill?

o_wX8Mjxq8zORZf4TIn the New York Times, Peter Singer and Agata Sagan say it’s only a matter of time before we pinpoint chemicals in the brain that produce empathetic behavior. Will religion be rendered obsolete? And, when we develop an ethical-behavior-boosting pill, will it be recommended (or mandatory) that everyone take it?

If continuing brain research does in fact show biochemical differences between the brains of those who help others and the brains of those who do not, could this lead to a “morality pill” — a drug that makes us more likely to help? Given the many other studies linking biochemical conditions to mood and behavior, and the proliferation of drugs to modify them that have followed, the idea is not far-fetched. If so, would people choose to take it? Could criminals be given the option, as an alternative to prison, of a drug-releasing implant that would make them less likely to harm others?

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The Price of Your Soul: How the Brain Decides Whether to ‘Sell Out’

DollarsVia ScienceDaily:

A neuro-imaging study shows that personal values that people refuse to disavow, even when offered cash to do so, are processed differently in the brain than those values that are willingly sold.”Our experiment found that the realm of the sacred — whether it’s a strong religious belief, a national identity or a code of ethics — is a distinct cognitive process,” says Gregory Berns, director of the Center for Neuropolicy at Emory University and lead author of the study. The results were published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

Sacred values prompt greater activation of an area of the brain associated with rules-based, right-or-wrong thought processes, the study showed, as opposed to the regions linked to processing of costs-versus-benefits.

Berns headed a team that included economists and information scientists from Emory University, a psychologist from the New School for Social Research and anthropologists from the Institute Jean Nicod in Paris, France.

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