Title of dissertation
: Global Health, Social Justice, and Corporate Accountability
Dissertation Committee: Howard Brody, M.D., Ph.D. (Chair), Rebecca Wong, Ph.D., Rebecca Hester, M.A., Ph.D., Cynthia Freeland, Ph.D., and Laura Hermer, J.D., LLM. Summary of Dissertation:
Chapter one of the dissertation contrasts libertarian theories to the theories of John Rawls and the human development approach favored by Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen. Libertarian theorists such as Robert Nozick, Murray Rothbard, and Jan Narveson claim that justice is achieved when and only when individuals are left alone to determine their own fate. Chapter two demonstrates that positive obligations arise from negative rights posited from a libertarian perspective. This approach is not to endorse libertarian theories but to illustrate that even the most restrictive accounts of negative rights will ultimately entail positive obligations to protect and maintain the autonomy of individuals. Chapter three provides empirical examples of human rights violations committed by corporations. Chapter three details numerous examples of such abuses that violate any concern for rights arising from liberty. Chapter four offers public policy suggestions related to global trade, drawing on the work of economists, legal scholars, and policy experts. Chapter five draws on the work of activists and sociologists to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of direct resistance. Social movements around the world have succeeded in gaining attention and concern from the public. Many victims of human rights abuses carry evidence of the abuse through disease and injury. These victims confront the well off with both powerful narratives and full embodiment of suffering. Finally, chapter six demonstrates that medical humanists have the broad view of ethics and justice necessary to respond to global health inequities and special obligations to tackle these problems. From the works of ancient Greeks to contemporary art and literature, moral progress is enriched and advanced by social immersion in the arts and humanities. Public discourse includes collective voices, such as those highlighted in chapter five, but also the individual voices of playwrights, novelists, photographers, filmmakers, and artists. A humanist perspective in education enables students to hear the voices of the oppressed and recognized a common humanity with even those most distant from them culturally and geographically.