Osagie K Obasogie and Marcy Darnovsky (Eds)
University of California Press, £27.00
The dramatic pace of scientific discoveries in recent decades has not only led to remarkable improvements in domains such as healthcare or forensics, but has also posed new questions and challenges to society. How do we deal with privacy in an age of commercialised genome sequencing? How do we decide to incorporate concepts of race, gender and class into our restructured healthcare system? These thorny issues and many more are tackled in Beyond Bioethics.
The book itself is a collection of dozens of essays by bioethicists, activists and thinkers from a range of disciplines, collected and curated by Osagie Obasogie and Marcy Darnovsky. Grouping these essays into thematic categories, the imposing bioethical problems of our age are investigated one by one. While the negative outlook provided by many essayists may sometimes seem overwhelming, the diversity of opinions and approaches does justice to the importance of topics such as surrogate pregnancies, negligence of underserved segments of the population, or the finicky subject of who is testing the drugs of the future in clinical trials.
In fact, as the editors of the book argue, as the age of bioethics which focused on the individual draws to a close it should be superseded by biopolitics focusing on whole societies (and ideally the world). As this includes every potential reader, the issues presented in this book and their eventual solution concern every one of us, which is why I urge everyone to inform themselves about these topics.