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Because formal methods and summary measures do not reflect these andother considerations of justice, one widely recognized view is thatformal methods should be used solely as aids in public health policyand not as determinative in their own right (Lipscomb, Drummond,Fryback, Gold, & Revicki 2009). That said, there is a powerfulbias in favor of quantification and the empirical in public healthpolicy. Thus, there is the risk that the findings emerging from theseformal analyses will have determinative influence in policycircles. One response to this risk has been to empiricize moralconsiderations by, for example, measuring and aggregating the valuepreferences of the public about moral tradeoffs such as prioritizingby age or life-saving potential (Mason, Baker & Donaldson 2011;Baker 2008; Menzel et al. 1999; Nord1999). These aggregated preferences or other approaches to quantifyingequity considerations can then be used in various ways to structurepolicy guidance. For example, they can be transformed into weightsintended to incorporate moral values directly into the structure ofthe formal methodology, a move that continues to attract considerableinterest (Johri & Norheim 2012) but that is open to criticism onmethodological as well as substantive grounds. Moves of this sort mayobscure controversial moral considerations from public view anddeliberation, undermining democratic values and politicallegitimacy. An important role for public health ethics is to continueto look critically at both the role and specific methods of economicand decision theory strategies for establishing priorities andregulatory standards in public health, recognizing that considerationsof cost-benefit and efficiency are essential to public healthprogramming and policy, and at alternative approaches forincorporating equity considerations in priority setting and regulatorydecision-making (Cookson, Drummond & Weatherly 2009; Global HealthPriorities 2014 (Other Internet Resources); NICE International2014 (Other Internet Resources)).

Project MUSE - Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of

Designed for the bed-table of the bourgeois(e) bleared with trade, and for the growing number of courses in English and Economics nationwide, the anthology selects poetry, short stories, plays, literary essays, and chapters of novels re-presenting the economy: Frost's "Two Tramps at Mudtime," for example, or Gaskell on British industrialization, or Miller's "Death of a Salesman." It teaches economic ways of thinking to literary people and opens the literary world to economists and calculators.


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See also the links to specific codes of ethicsfrom various professional societies that are included in the text in this essay.



A typical whistle-blower statute (e.g., 5 USC § 1213)is designed to protect employees who report:While such statutes serve an important and vital purpose, the topic of thisessay is limited to discussing freedom of learned professionals,specifically the right of a professional to object to– and to refuse to do – an ethical act.