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Chris Cremin
Norman, Oklahoma
Recent Activity
This may be a bit pessimistic, but I have a feeling that the whole Wikileaks saga will spur governments to much more aggressively appropriate information technology. What I mean is that they've got the resources and now the motivation to essentially buy-out the best IT security experts in the world to create an unprecedentedly sophisticated way to censor certain information. However, Assange claims that his real goal isn't so much to expose specific secrets as it is to use a continuous and sustained assault on general secrecy to pressure governments to quit engaging in so many conspiracies in the first place. I suppose whether or not organizations like Wikileaks and Anonymous will be able to achieve that goal will depend on how strong the hacker ethic is compared to fear of retribution and the profit motive.
Information/communication technology has been integral to virtually every aspect of the Occupy Wall Street movement. There are, of course, a few exceptions. I think these exceptions are useful starting points for examining how socially significant ICT really is. The movement is largely defined by events that happened “in the real... Continue reading
I think the idea that "ethical precepts as researchers are completely different from the private practitioner’s code" is a really important observation. Of course it's wrong that people are so desperate for care that they're willing to turn themselves into guinea pigs, but whose fault is that really? Is it fair to ask researchers to solve a problem that others are responsible for causing? I don't think either of those questions have a clear answer. But it's worth thinking about how our society enabled this sort of testing in the first place. If our government can pass trade agreements that protect intellectual property for pharmaceutical companies why not ones that protect the health of human clinical subjects?
I think one thing we really should have, but seem not to have learned is the need for a single system. We've got the Veterans Health Administration for soldiers, Medicare for the elderly, Medicaid for the indigent, SCHIP for children, several different state programs, several different Indian nation programs, countless private insurance providers, and the new national program for a "high-risk" pool of people with preexisting conditions. It should come as no surprise that healthcare in America is swamped in administrative cost. The health care reform law does make some investments into primary and preventative care, so hopefully that will begin taking our system in a good direction.
I have to agree that informed consent is critical. Beyond the the more obvious benefit of protecting donors from exploitation the existence of such contracts could also protect the researchers from unreasonable lawsuits. The ability to claim intellectual property rights over genes and other biological material has other complications as well. Is it fair, in principle, for one person to be granted ownership over a part of another person's body? Does this raise the price of life-saving innovations? Are government agencies wrong for effectively allowing companies to monopolize the entire outcome of research (be it drug or technology) rather than the specific process that was patented?
Manfred Steger argues that the intended effects of globalization are to “enhance consumer choice, increase global wealth, secure peaceful international relations, and spread new technologies around the world” (42). These are all laudable goals, but how well they have been met is still an open question. The spread of technology,... Continue reading
After reading "This Little Kidney Went to the Market" it seems to me like most of the problems caused to paid donors, both in the article and the video, were harmed more by the unaccountability of the black-market brokers than by the procedure itself. If legalization could ensure that these people would get the money they were promised and whatever follow-up care they need then it could be that the greater ethical lapse would be preventing such a change from happening. But I still believe that we should try to ameliorate the problem of organ shortage in more established ways first. There would certainly be unforeseen consequences to legalization that may prove unnecessary, assuming artificial organs will be widespread in the near future. The opt-out idea is a start, but we shouldn't underestimate the potential of education. For example, even though I've never cared about preserving my body after death I didn't think to sign up as an organ donor until I learned what a serious problem the shortage was.
Chris Cremin is now following Tiffany Lepa
Sep 13, 2011
I think part of the resistance against scientific innovations is done for practical economic reasons, rather than out of distrust of the new or nostalgia for the past (which is not that neither of these motivations played a role). During the industrial revolution producers began to depend more on capital (which was becoming more affordable due to technological innovations) and less on labor. Many people were forced from skilled or semi-skilled jobs into unskilled (low-wage) assembly line work because that's who employers were willing to hire. Some of these people became Luddites and focused their rage against the machines that made them obsolete.
Chris Cremin is now following Katherine Pandora
Aug 29, 2011