Those interested in the recent history of biomedicine shouldn’t miss Nikolas Rose’s Clifford Barcley Lecture “Will biomedicine transform society?” held at the LSE in February 2005. Below is the abstract; the whole paper is available through this link.

Will biomedicine transform society? The political, economic, social, and personal impact of medical advances in the twenty-first century
Every day our news media report some wonderful new advance in biomedicine – new reproductive technologies to give hope to the infertile and allow parents to ‘design’ their children, new stem cell treatments for spinal cord injuries and Alzheimer’s ‘just around the corner’, new ways of screening our genomes for susceptibilities to illness, new pharmaceuticals that will not just alleviate our depression but make us happier and smarter, drugs that might further extend the life expectancy of those in the wealthy west. How should we evaluate this complex mixture of hype and hope in relation to health? Beyond the hype, what will be the economic and political implications of these developments? Will they reshape our societies, family life, our own sense of who we are and what we can hope for? And what about geopolitics, as China, India, South Korea and many others outside the west invest heavily in genomic and biomedical research and development? Will high tech biomedicine exacerbate or alleviate the scandalous global inequalities in health?

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