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Bioethics Seminar: Anti-obesity policy and distributive ethics

This talk is about the distributive ethics of policies that try to control obesity by reducing choice. A tax on sugary drinks is one example of such anti-obesity policies, regulating for lower density of fast food outlets is another. People who want to lose weight might gain from such policies; people who do not want to lose weight would probably lose. How should the distributive effects of anti-obesity policies be evaluated? I consider four criteria: (1) the number of winners and losers (2) the size of the welfare gains or losses of each (3) how badly off they otherwise are and (4) their responsibility for gaining or losing.

Put another way, this talk will apply to obesity ideas from moral and political philosophy, such as utilitarianism, giving priority to the worst off, health inequality, and responsibility, drawing on evidence about weight preferences and gender, class, and ethnic-race differences. Given the theory and the evidence, choice-reducing anti-obesity policies would not be justifiable on the grounds that they help their targets. There are other justifications for anti-obesity policies, such as reducing health or productivity costs, but these have big problems too. The tentative conclusion is then against the anti-obesity policies. Speaker: Martin Wilkinson

Date Monday, 16 October 2017
Time 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Audience All University,Public
Event Category Health Sciences
Event Type Open Seminar
DepartmentBioethics Centre
LocationBioethics Centre Seminar Room, First Floor, 71 Frederick Street. Also video-linked Christchurch and Wellington Campus.
Contact NameBioethics Centre
Contact Phone+64 3 471 6120

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