Bioethics, Politics and Business

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In the decision-making involving biosciences and biotechnology, both politicians and the general public have come to increasingly rely on different kinds of experts and specialised bodies. Interest groups such as industry, religious authorities and consumer organisations also try to influence political decision-making, and the role of the media has not always been - it is claimed - as neutral as the public perceives it to be. At the same time, according to the democratic ideal, ultimate power should rest with the parliamentarians and with the people. Who has the power in decision-making in biotechnology? Can there be legitimate expertise in bioethics? How can we improve the power balance? These are some of the questions this book seeks to answer. The book is divided into three parts. The first part presents articles dealing with the role of biopolitics and the expert bodies in relation to the democratic ideal. The second part looks at the special role of the media in relation to decision-making in bioethics and biopolitics. The third part of the book looks at the links between the biotechnology industry and bioethical decision-making.



Business and Bioethics – the Way Forward

In the partnership of a private biotechnology enterprise and the academic research organisation, there are more parties involved than just the industry and the academic scientist. It seems that there is a triangle of three main stakeholders: in the two bottom corners there is on the one hand industry with its interest in maximising its financial return and maintaining a viable business, and on the other hand there is the academic research organisation represented by an investigator whose interest lies in maintaining her academic freedom and who is accountable for any publications bearing her name. In the upper corner is the state, monitoring and controlling research and the applications of biotechnology. In the middle of this triangle we have the individual, who is pulled in different directions: his services are wanted by the industry, by academic researchers and by the state.


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