Is efficiency ethical? Resource issues in health care

In Brenda Almond (ed.), Introducing Applied Ethics. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 229-246 (1995)
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How can we allocate scarce health care resources justly? In particular, are markets the most efficient way to deliver health services? Much blood, sweat and ink has been shed over this issue, but rarely has either faction challenged the unspoken assumption behind the claim made by advocates of markets: that efficiency advances the interests of both individuals and society. Whether markets actually do increase efficiency is arguably a matter for economists, but the deeper ethical question is whether efficiency is the correct criterion, in terms of social justice and individual needs.

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Donna Dickenson
Birkbeck, University of London


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