Poverty, Human Rights, and Just Distribution

  • John-Stewart Gordon
Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 42)

Abstract

Poverty is a serious threat for human beings and their well-being. People are simply unable to live a good life when they are faced with severe problems, e.g., bad education, poor housing, poor sanitation, poor hygiene, or malnourishment. However, one of the most urgent problems with regard to poverty is bad access to primary health care and the allocation of health care resources for millions of people around the world. These people are deprived of human flourishing, and life is for them, in general, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” In this chapter, I present an ethical argument that shows that people have a moral right to primary health care, and that wealthy developed countries are morally obligated to help the needy. Primary health care, and hence access to it is, as I will argue, a global public good that is protected by human dignity and the human right of protection from unwarranted bodily harm.

Keywords

Equality global public good human rights justice poverty primary health care public health 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • John-Stewart Gordon
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Medical Ethics and History of MedicineRuhr-University BochumGermany
  2. 2.Tübingen UniversityGermany
  3. 3.Duisburg-Essen UniversityGermany

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