Luck, Genes, and Equality
University of San Diego: School of Law
August 2, 2012
35 J.L. MED. & ETHICS 712 (2007)
Growing powers of genetic control dislodge a basic assumption of distributive justice: that social and economic goods should be distributed among people with the fixed biological inequalities given by the natural lottery. This Article explores how an egalitarian society should allocate access to genetic advantages. I develop and critically analyze principles of genetic equality, genetic priority, genetic lottery, and a genetic decent minimum.
The Article begins by providing practical and normative reasons to expand the domain within which the striving for justice is morally relevant to the hereditary basis of certain traits. I argue that the currency of genetic redistribution consists in general-purpose traits like health, vision, and intelligence, as these goods contribute to the biological component of basic capabilities, like being healthy, seeing properly, and being able to reason.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: reproductive genetics, distributive justice, luck egalitarianism, prioritarianism, sufficientarianism
JEL Classification: D63, I31, I18, H23, G38, D61
Date posted: November 23, 2009 ; Last revised: March 19, 2015