Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

A National Ethics Agenda (2004-05)

Click here to watch a video of the "National Ethics Agenda" presentation.
Each segment can be accessed individually. Requires a working copy of either Real Player or Quicktime.

Introduction

Security and Terrorism: Are We Ethically Ready for Another Attack?
Terrorism has become such a common word that it's easy to forget how closely it is associated with fear, an emotion that doesn't always lead to rational decision making. Before there is another attack on the United States, Americans need to consider how to respond in a way that is prudent, ethically defensible, and respectful of other American values besides security.
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Principles for Humanitarian Intervention: When Should We Send in the Marines?
No country wants to stand idle while the citizens of another country are oppressed and even killed, sometimes at the hand of their own government. But countries are understandably wary of violating the sovereignty of another nation with military intervention. Bystander countries, including the United States, must shepherd their own resources and attention. No country can intervene everywhere. What principles should guide the United States in determining when to intervene?
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Vigorous Political Debate or Partisan Lying: Who Owns the Truth?
In a cover story called "Blue Truth, Red Truth," Newsweek magazine suggested that Americans have become so polarized that their perceptions of the truth are dependent on their politics. When does a one-sided presentation of the facts become a lie, and what effect has this heightened partisanship had on the chance for fruitful public discourse after the election?

Our Debt to the Future: Will Our Children Pay for the Negative Consequences of Our Current Choices?
Every time we pass a budget that postpones payment for current services, every time we okay development on farmland or wetlands, every time we put off action on greenhouse gasses and emissions, we are imposing the costs of our choices on our children. When is it appropriate to ask the next generation to solve problems or pay bills created by our decisions?
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Public Confidence and Public Contracting: Must We Accept a Pay-to-Play System?
The public contracting process is regulated by strict rules obligating governments to award contracts to the lowest responsible bidder. But the process can be corrupted by inside deals, revolving-door lobbyists, and "creative accounting," which undermine the public's trust in its institutions.
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The Future of Food: Will Genetically Modified Organisms Solve the Hunger Problem?
With hunger dogging 842 million people worldwide, some scientists, agribusinesspeople, and policy makers are looking to genetic modifications as a way to produce hardier, more nutritious, more abundant crops. But potential, though unknown, long-term impacts on human health and the environment raise ethical issues for the development of GMOs.

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