Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

A National Ethics Agenda (2002)


Developing a Principled Approach to Foreign Intervention
The United States is pursuing an unconventional war against global terrorism, and, at the same time, as the only surviving superpower, is being asked to protect threatened groups around the world. We must develop ethical principles that can govern our interventions in the affairs of other countries.

Controlling Abuses of Power
Power-in the hands of the church, corporations, or the criminal justice system-must be exercised with accountability and responsibility. We must define clear standards of ethical leadership and clear limits on the power of our leaders, or the rights and dignity of the vulnerable will be compromised.

Resolving Conflicts of Interest in the New Economy
Whether it's analysts touting dubious companies in order to win underwriting business or auditors okaying creative bookkeeping to retain consulting business, the new economy and its new institutions are rife with conflicts of interest. How should we control these conflicts?

Allocating Health Care Fairly
While we rightly debate the implications and ethics of new biotech treatments, we have yet to resolve basic questions about access to health care in general. We also have not determined if we have any responsibility to make the benefits of our health system available to all, or-as individuals-whether to accept responsibility for keeping ourselves healthy.

Confronting the Personal Ethics of Aging and Retirement
The average American woman now lives to age 79, the average man to 74. They now enjoy more than 10 years of relatively healthy retirement. Whether these are golden years or not depends in part upon resolving certain ethical questions about how to budget, how to spend leisure time, how to prepare for the end of health and life.

Exploring the Limits on Scientific Freedom
As research opens up the possibility for more and more sophisticated manipulation of plant, animal, and human biology, some argue that we must place limits on scientific enquiry. These limits may have real human costs. How do we make these tradeoffs?

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Behind the Ethics Agenda