•  9
    Citizen Science for Biomedical Research and Contributive Justice
    American Journal of Bioethics 19 (8): 60-62. 2019.
    Engaging citizens in science projects has a number of epistemic benefits in terms of improving scientific out- comes and adjusting research to develop innovative solu- tions that are likelier to be used. Yet the emphasis on the epistemic benefits of citizen science projects and its risks, such as exploitation and a lack of benefit-sharing, a fail- ure to sufficiently inform participants of possible hazards and privacy issues, and unacknowledged authorship, which we can find in Wiggins and Wilban…Read more
  •  58
    Ethical issues involving long-term land leases: a soil sciences perspective
    with Georges F. Félix
    In Eija Vinnari & Markus Vinnari (eds.), Sustainable governance and management of food systems: ethical perspectives, Wageningen Academic Publishers. pp. 287-292. 2019.
    As populations grow and arable land becomes increasingly scarce, large-scale long- term land leases are signed at a growing rate. Countries and investors with large amounts of financial resources and a strong agricultural industry seek long-term land leases for agricultural exploitation or investment purposes. Leaders of financially poorer countries often advertise such deals as a fast way to attract foreign capital. Much has been said about the short-term social costs these types of leases invo…Read more
  •  139
    Fair agricultural innovation for a changing climate
    with Zoë Robaey
    In Erinn Gilson & Sarah Kenehan (eds.), Food, Environment and Climate Change, Rowman & Littlefield International. pp. 213-230. 2018.
    Agricultural innovation happens at different scales and through different streams. In the absence of a common global research agenda, decisions on which innovations are brought to existence, and through which methods, are taken with insufficient view on how innovation affects social relations, the environment, and future food production. Mostly, innovations are considered from the standpoint of economic efficiency, particularly in relationship to creating jobs for technology-exporting countries.…Read more
  •  8
    A Latin American Perspective to Agricultural Ethics
    In Eduardo Rivera-López & Martin Hevia (eds.), Controversies in Latin American Bioethics, Springer. pp. 203-217. 2019.
    The mixture of political, social, cultural and economic environments in Latin America, together with the enormous diversity in climates, natural habitats and biological resources the continent offers, make the ethical assessment of agricultural policies extremely difficult. Yet the experience gained while addressing the contemporary challenges the region faces, such as rapid urbanization, loss of culinary and crop diversity, extreme inequality, disappearing farming styles, water and land grabs, …Read more
  •  31
    Food security as a global public good
    In José Luis Vivero-Pol, Tomaso Ferrando, Olivier de Schutter & Ugo Mattei (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Food as a Commons, Routledge. pp. 85-99. 2018.
    Food security brings a number of benefits to humanity from which nobody can be excluded and which can be simultaneously enjoyed by all. An economic understanding of the concept sees food security qualify as a global public good. However, there are four other ways of understanding a public good which are worthy of attention. A normative public good is a good from which nobody ought to be excluded. Alternatively, one might acknowledge the benevolent character of a public good. Others have argued t…Read more
  •  391
    Contributive Justice: An exploration of a wider provision of meaningful work
    Social Justice Research 31 (1): 85-111. 2018.
    Extreme inequality of opportunity leads to a number of social tensions, inefficiencies and injustices. One issue of increasing concern is the effect inequality is having on people’s fair chances of attaining meaningful work, thus limiting opportunities to make a significant positive contribution to society and reducing the chances of living a flourishing life and developing their potential. On a global scale we can observe an increasingly uneven provision of meaningful work, raising a series of …Read more
  •  297
    Food sovereignty and consumer sovereignty: two antagonistic goals?
    with Georges Félix and Pablo Tittonell
    Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 42 (3): 274-298. 2018.
    The concept of food sovereignty is becoming an element of everyday parlance in development politics and food justice advocacy. Yet to successfully achieve food sovereignty, the demands within this movement have to be compatible with the way people are pursuing consumer sovereignty, and vice versa. The aim of this article is to examine the different sets of demands that the two ideals of sovereignty bring about, analyze in how far these different demands can stand in constructive relations with e…Read more
  •  62
    Registro de variedades según el modelo de creative commons
    la Jornada Ecológica 212 18-19. 2017.
    Hoy en día, el fuerte consagramiento y la expansión de la propiedad privada ha llevado al olvido a muchos métodos de gobernar recursos que no están basados en la exclusividad. Frecuentemente se escucha hablar de la propiedad como un derecho de dominio absoluto, algo inviolable que no conlleva obligaciones. Sin embargo, desde los inicios de la historia jurídica podemos observar que los derechos de propiedad han estado habitualmente acompañados de obligaciones y limitaciones, además de un mandato …Read more
  •  157
    Intellectual property regimes necessarily create artificial scarcity leading to wastage, both by blocking follow-up research and hindering access to those who are only able to pay less then the actual retail price. After revising the traditional arguments to hinder access to people’s intellectual labour we will examine why we should be more open to allow free-riding of inventive efforts, especially in cases where innovators have not secured the widest access to the fruits of their research and f…Read more
  •  176
    Food Sovereignty and the Global South
    with Georges F. Félix
    In Paul B. Thompson & David M. Kaplan (eds.), Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics, Springer. 2016.
    Farmers’ organizations all over the world are very well aware that in order to build and retain a critical mass with sufficient bargaining power to democratically influence local governments and international organizations they will have to unite by identifying common goals and setting aside their differences. After decades of local movements and struggles, farmers’ organizations around the globe found in the concept of “food sovereignty” the normative framework they were long searching for. The…Read more
  •  7
    Language Impairment and Legal Literacy: Is a Degree of Perfectionism Unavoidable?
    American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 8 (1): 43-45. 2017.
    Wszalek offers a detailed examination of the challenges involved in assisting people with language and communication impairments in the comprehension of legal language and concepts (LLC). If we settle for a minimum threshold of LLC comprehension, we are likely to observe that some people will not meet this threshold due to personal choices, such as not having practiced reading sufficiently or having avoided intellectually stimulating social interactions.
  •  41
    Sharing in or Benefiting from Scientific Advancement?
    Science and Engineering Ethics 20 (1): 111-133. 2014.
    The intellectual property regimes we have currently in place are heavily under attack. One of the points of criticism is the interaction between two elements of article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the widely discussed issue of being able to benefit from scientific progress and the less argued for position of having a right to take part in scientific enterprises. To shine light on the question if we should balance the two elements or prioritize one of them, an exploration wil…Read more
  •  69
    Taking into consideration the extremely harsh public health conditions faced by the majority of the world population, the Health Impact Fund (HIF) proposal seeks to make the intellectual property regimes more in line with human rights obligations. While prioritizing access to medicines and research on neglected diseases, the HIF makes many compromises in order to be conceived as politically feasible and to retain a compensation character that makes its implementation justified solely on basis of…Read more
  •  448
    Adapting Food Production to Climate Change: An Inclusive Approach
    with Georges F. Félix
    Climate Change and Human Rights: The 2015 Paris Conference and the Task of Protecting People on a Warming Planet. 2015.
    On why agricultural innovation from the Global South can and should be used to adapt food production to climate change. Discussed on hand of three cases studies
  •  26
    Justifying pro-poor innovation in the life sciences: a brief overview of the ethical landscape
    In Helena Röcklinsberg & Per Sandin (eds.), The Ethics of Consumption, Wageningen Academic Publishers. pp. 341-346. 2013.
    An idea is a public good. The use of an idea by one person does not hinder others to benefit from the same idea. However in order to generate new life-saving ideas, e.g. inventions in the life sciences, a huge amount of human and material resources are needed. Powerful, but highly criticized tools to speed up the rate of innovation are exclusive rights, most prominently the use of patents and plant breeders’ rights. Exclusive rights leave by nature a number of people empty-handed, with starvatio…Read more
  •  289
    Global justice considerations for a proposed “climate impact fund”
    with Henk van den Belt
    Public Reason 4 (1-2): 182-196. 2012.
    One of the most attractive, but nevertheless highly controversial proposals to alleviate the negative effects of today’s international patent regime is the Health Impact Fund (HIF). Although the HIF has been drafted to facilitate access to medicines and boost pharmaceutical research, we have analysed the burdens for the global poor a similar proposal designed to promote the use and development of climate-friendly technologies would have. Drawing parallels from the access to medicines debate, we …Read more
  •  76
    Agroecology as a vehicle for contributive justice
    with Georges F. Félix
    Agriculture and Human Values 32 (3): 523-538. 2015.
    Agroecology has been criticized for being more labor-intensive than other more industrialized forms of agriculture. We challenge the assertion that labor input in agriculture has to be generally minimized and argue that besides quantity of work one should also consider the quality of work involved in farming. Early assessments on work quality condemned the deskilling of the rural workforce, whereas later criticisms have concentrated around issues related to fair trade and food sovereignty. We br…Read more
  •  25
    The Precautionary Principle and the Social Institution of Blood Donation
    American Journal of Bioethics 17 (3): 52-54. 2017.
    As a policy instrument that is deeply rooted in technology assessment, the precautionary principle examines the effects of a given object on humans and the environment. In practice the principle is rarely used to analyze the effects of our safety measures on the object itself or the way it is produced. Yet it is exactly in the effect on the blood procurement system that blood safety regulations based on the precautionary principle have to be particularly careful, as the vast majority of blood pr…Read more
  •  416
    Public goods, as well as commercial commodities, are affected by exclusive arrangements secured by intellectual property (IP) rights. These rights serve as an incentive to invest human and material capital in research and development. Particularly in the life sciences, IP rights regulate objects such as food and medicines that are key to securing human rights, especially the right to adequate food and the right to health. Consequently, IP serves private (economic) and public interests. Part of t…Read more
  •  15
    Climate change, intellectual property rights and global justice
    with Henk van den Belt
    In Thomas Potthast & Simon Meisch (eds.), Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Ethical Perspectives on Land Use and Food Production, Wageningen Academic Publishers. pp. 75-79. 2012.
    International negotiations on anthropogenic climate change are far from running smoothly. Opinions are deeply divided on what are the respective responsibilities of developed and developing countries with regard to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the alleviation of the negative effects of global warming. A major bone of contention concerns the role of intellectual property rights (especially patents) in the development and diffusion of climate-friendly technologies. While developin…Read more
  •  320
    Taking people’s longevity as a measure of good life, humankind can proudly say that the average person is living a much longer life than ever before. The AIDS epidemic has however for the first time in decades stalled and in some cases even reverted this trend in a number of countries. Climate change is increasingly becoming a major challenge for food security and we can anticipate that hunger caused by crop damages will become much more common. -/- Since many of the challenges humanity faced in…Read more
  •  51
    Any system for the protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs) has three main kinds of distributive effects. It will determine or influence: (a) the types of objects that will be developed and for which IPRs will be sought; (b) the differential access various people will have to these objects; and (c) the distribution of the IPRs themselves among various actors. What this means to the area of pharmaceutical research is that many urgently needed medicines will not be developed at all, that …Read more
  •  78
    Addressing a Duty to Preserve Biodiversity, Not Genetic Integrity
    Ethics, Policy and Environment 18 (3): 262-264. 2015.
    Rohwer and Marris (2015) question the existence of a prima facie duty to preserve genetic integrity leaving open the question of what we should preserve. Many of the arguments used to justify their position could set the platform to defend a duty to preserve the diversity of both wild and domesticated species. In times where agricultural land covers a third of world’s land area and major efforts are undertaken to green urban areas a defense of biodiversity could benefit hugely by intelligently i…Read more
  •  196
    A wide range of proposals to alleviate the negative effects of intellectual property regimes is currently under discussion. This article offers a critical evaluation of six of these proposals: the Health Impact Fund, the Access to Knowledge movement, prize systems, open innovation models, compulsory licenses and South-South collaborations. An assessment on how these proposals target the human rights affected by intellectual property will be provided. The conflicting human rights that will be ind…Read more
  •  16
    Climate-ready GM crops, intellectual property and global justice
    with Henk van den Belt and Michiel Korthals
    In Carlos Maria Romeo Casabona, Leire Escajedo San Epifanio & Aitziber Emaldi Cirión (eds.), Global food security: ethical and legal challenges, Wageningen Academic Publishers. pp. 153-158. 2010.
    So-called climate-ready GM crops can be of great help in adapting to a changing climate. Climate change, caused in great part by anthropogenic greenhouse gases released in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution by the developed world, is felt much stronger in the developing world, causing unexpected droughts and floods that will cause large harvest loss, leading to more hunger and malnutrition, rising death tolls and disease vulnerability. The current intellectual property regime (IPR) s…Read more
  •  56
    Pesticides and the Patent Bargain
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (1): 1-19. 2015.
    In order to enlarge the pool of knowledge available in the public domain, temporary exclusive rights are granted to innovators who are willing to fully disclose the information needed to reproduce their invention. After the 20-year patent protection period elapses, society should be able to make free use of the publicly available knowledge described in the patent document, which is deemed useful. Resistance to pesticides destroys however the usefulness of information listed in patent documents o…Read more
  •  133
    Life Sciences, Intellectual Property Regimes and Global Justice
    Dissertation, Wageningen University. 2013.
    In this thesis we have examined the complex interaction between intellectual property rights, life sciences and global justice. Science and the innovations developed in its wake have an enormous effect on our daily lives, providing countless opportunities but also raising numerous problems of justice. The complexity of a problem however does not liberate society as a whole from moral responsibilities. Our intellectual property regimes clash at various points with human rights law and commonly he…Read more
  •  196
    Agrobiodiversität, das Gemeinschaftserbe-Prinzip und Marktanreize
    with Zoë Robaey
    In Barbara Brandl & Stephan Schleissing (eds.), Biopatente – Saatgut als Ware und als öffentliches Gut, Nomos. pp. 109-131. 2016.
    Die Diversität von Nahrungspflanzen, ein Ergebnis Jahrtausende langer Zuchtbemühungen, ist in den letzten Jahrzehnten dramatisch zurückgegangen. Schätzungen zufolge machen von den über 7000 Nahrungspflanzenarten ganze 103 Sorten 90% der Nahrungsmittelproduktion aus. Dieser Verlust könnte in Zukunft gewaltige negative Auswirkungen auf die Nahrungsmittelsicherheit haben, da die Biodiversität eine zentrale Rolle bei der Absorbierung biotischer und abiotischer Stressfaktoren spielt, die auf d…Read more