The Belmont Report

I am reading the Belmont Report in order to work with human research subjects. I am an ethics and research dork, and I love this kind of stuff.

Autonomy, beneficence and justice are pretty noble concepts, ones I would like to see more of in obstetrical practice. Although the Belmont Report draws a distinction between practice and research, it holds clinical practice to a higher standard for beneficence (the obligation to do no harm, pretty much).

I was struck by this part about justice:

There are several widely accepted formulations of just ways to distribute burdens and benefits. Each formulation mentions some relevant property on the basis of which burdens and benefits should be distributed. These formulations are (1) to each person an equal share, (2) to each person according to individual need, (3) to each person according to individual effort, (4) to each person according to societal contribution, and (5) to each person according to merit.

I was just thinking about this the other day. I remember reading “From each according to one’s ability, to each according to one’s need,” I think it was in some Green party literature a while ago. I was brooding over politics and conservatives, and thought that this was probably not a statement to which they would generally agree.

I am definitely a #2. If I had to rank them, I would go 2, 1, 3 = 4, 5. What is “merit”, anyway? A badge? How about y’all?


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6 responses to “The Belmont Report

  1. I was wondering about the merit too. I thought maybe it’s how good you are at something, without reference to whether it contributes anything? Obviously society could choose to measure that different ways (looks, IQ tests, etc.) Maybe it’s just how nice you are to puppies and kittens?

    I think I would rank similarly to you, although probably place 4 above 3.

  2. That’s a quote from Karl Marx, btw, MomTFH; it’s one we used explicitly in raising our kids, to explain why the work was distributed the way it was, and how we allocated scarce resources, and all kinds of useful things. 🙂

    • MomTFH

      Ha, I knew I read it somewhere. I still think it was in Green Party literature, but it’s nice to know the original source.

  3. Decided to check it out – it’s popularized by Marx, but taken by him from someone else’s seed.,_to_each_according_to_his_need

  4. Pingback: Reply turned post, guilt and pain style « Mom’s Tinfoil Hat

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