The panorama of bioethical problems is different today. Patients travel to Thailand for fast surgery; commercial surrogate mothers in India deliver babies to parents in rich countries; organs, body parts and tissues are trafficked from East to Western Europe; physicians and nurses migrating from Africa to the U.S; thousands of children or patients with malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS are dying each day because they cannot afford effective drugs that are too expensive.
Mainstream bioethics as it has developed during the last 50 years in Western countries is evolving into a broader approach that is relevant for people across the world and is focused on new global problems. This book provides an introduction into the new field of global bioethics. Addressing these problems requires a broader vision of bioethics that not only goes beyond the current emphasis on individual autonomy, but that criticizes the social, economic and political context that is producing the problems at global level.
This book argues that global bioethics is a necessity because the social, economic and environmental effects of globalization require critical responses. Global bioethics is not a finished product that can simply be applied to solve global problems, but it is the ongoing result of interaction and exchange between local practices and global discourse. It combines recognition of differences and respect for cultural diversity with convergence towards common perspectives and shared values. The book examines the nature of global problems as well as the type of responses that are needed, in order to exemplify the substance of global bioethics. It discusses the ethical frameworks that are available for global discourse and shows how these are transformed into global governance mechanisms and practices.