Socio-Economic Considerations in Biotechnology Regulation

Volume 37 of the series Natural Resource Management and Policy pp 97-107


Ethics and Equity

  • Paul B. ThompsonAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Department of Community Sustainability and Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Michigan State University Email author 

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Perspectives and views regarding rights are often developed as an attempt to specify the basic freedoms or capabilities that are necessary for human flourishing. Although views on rights acknowledge that natural scarcities constrain the potential for flourishing, they insist that when the action of one human limits the potential of another, this is the paradigmatic case calling for ethical critique. Rights are intended to protect human beings from oppression by other human beings; they are not to be understood as entitlements against the natural world. An alternative starting point is that of “values.” In either case, what is needed is an articulation of the ethical theories under the identified rights or values.