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Article
Publication date: 15 May 2021

Konrad Szocik and Rakhat Abylkasymova

Current covid-19 pandemic challenges health-care ethics. Ones of the most important challenges are medical resources allocation and a duty to treat, often addressed to…

Abstract

Purpose

Current covid-19 pandemic challenges health-care ethics. Ones of the most important challenges are medical resources allocation and a duty to treat, often addressed to medical personnel. This paper suggests that there are good reasons to rethink our health-care ethics for future global catastrophic risks. Current pandemic shows how challenging can be an issue of resources allocation even in a relatively small kind of catastrophic event such as covid-19 pandemic. In this paper, the authors show that any future existential bigger catastrophe may require new guidelines for the allocation of medical resources. The idea of assisted dying is considered as a hypothetical scenario.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual work based on conceptual analysis at the intersection of risk studies, health-care ethics and future studies. This study builds the argument on the assumption that the covid-19 pandemic should be treated as a sort of global catastrophic risk. Findings show that there are no such attempts in currently published peer-reviewed academic literature. This is crucial concept for the meta-analysis. This study shows why and how current pandemic can be interpreted in terms of global catastrophic risk even if, literally, covid-19 does not meet all criteria required in the risk studies to be called a global catastrophe.

Findings

We can expect an emergence of discriminatory selection policy which will require some actions taken by future patients like, for example, genetic engineering. But even then it is inevitable that there will still be a large number of survivors who require medical assistance, which they have no chance of receiving. This is why this study has considered the concept of assisted dying understood as an official protocol for health-care ethics and resources allocation policy in the case of emergency situations. Possibly more controversial idea discussed in this paper is an idea of assisted dying for those who cannot receive required medical help. Such procedure could be applied in a mass-scale during a global catastrophic event.

Research limitations/implications

Philosophers and ethicists should identify and study all possible pros and cons of this discrimination rule. As this study’s findings suggested above, a reliable point of reference is the concept of substantial human enhancement. Human enhancement as such, widely debated, should be studied in that specific context of discrimination of patients in an access to limited medical resources. Last but not least, scientific community should study the concept of assisted dying which could be applied for those survivors who have no chance of obtaining medical care. Such criteria and concepts as cost-benefit analysis, the ethics of quality of life, autonomy of patients and duty of medical personnel should be considered.

Practical implications

Politicians and policymakers should prepare protocols for global catastrophes where these discrimination criteria would have to be applied. The same applies to the development of medical robotics aimed at replacing human health-care personnel. We assume that this is important implication for practical policy in healthcare. Our prediction, however plausible, is not a good scenario for humanity. But given this realistic development trajectory, we should do everything possible to prevent the need for the discriminatory rules in medical care described above.

Originality/value

This study offers the idea of assisted dying as a health-care policy in emergency situations. The authors expect that next future global catastrophes – looking at the current pandemic only as a mild prelude – will force a radical change in moral values and medical standards. New criteria of selection and discrimination will be perceived as much more exclusivist and unfair than criteria applied today.

Details

International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4902

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2006

Sally Leivesley

To describe anticipatory risk as a fundamental pillar for a framework of international law in relation to global terrorism.

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Abstract

Purpose

To describe anticipatory risk as a fundamental pillar for a framework of international law in relation to global terrorism.

Design/methodology/approach

Economic terrorism and global terrorist transactions are used as a case study to demonstrate asymmetric financial crime and vulnerabilities of financial districts, economies and populations.

Findings

The act of anticipation of risk is quantifiable and imposes a duty to manage foreseeable catastrophic consequences. Such a duty in turn creates a proportionate reaction that can be recognised in law.

Practical implications

Recommendations are made for international discussions by jurists, global agreements through the United Nations and the G8 and for national laws, corporate governance standards and regulatory measures to become a seamless extension of the international framework.

Originality/value

Commercial law, criminal law and the international laws and conventions of war require a framework that defines foreseeability, catastrophic risk, uncertainty, adequacy and proportionality.

Details

Journal of Money Laundering Control, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1368-5201

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 November 2018

Karin Kuhlemann

This paper aims to consider few cognitive and conceptual obstacles to engagement with global catastrophic risks (GCRs).

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to consider few cognitive and conceptual obstacles to engagement with global catastrophic risks (GCRs).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper starts by considering cognitive biases that affect general thinking about GCRs, before questioning whether existential risks really are dramatically more pressing than other GCRs. It then sets out a novel typology of GCRs – sexy vs unsexy risks – before considering a particularly unsexy risk, overpopulation.

Findings

It is proposed that many risks commonly regarded as existential are “sexy” risks, while certain other GCRs are comparatively “unsexy.” In addition, it is suggested that a combination of complexity, cognitive biases and a hubris-laden failure of imagination leads us to neglect the most unsexy and pervasive of all GCRs: human overpopulation. The paper concludes with a tentative conceptualisation of overpopulation as a pattern of risking.

Originality/value

The paper proposes and conceptualises two new concepts, sexy and unsexy catastrophic risks, as well as a new conceptualisation of overpopulation as a pattern of risking.

Article
Publication date: 5 September 2018

Alexey Turchin and Brian Patrick Green

Islands have long been discussed as refuges from global catastrophes; this paper will evaluate them systematically, discussing both the positives and negatives of islands…

Abstract

Purpose

Islands have long been discussed as refuges from global catastrophes; this paper will evaluate them systematically, discussing both the positives and negatives of islands as refuges. There are examples of isolated human communities surviving for thousands of years on places like Easter Island. Islands could provide protection against many low-level risks, notably including bio-risks. However, they are vulnerable to tsunamis, bird-transmitted diseases and other risks. This paper aims to explore how to use the advantages of islands for survival during global catastrophes.

Design/methodology/approach

Preliminary horizon scanning based on the application of the research principles established in the previous global catastrophic literature.

Findings

The large number of islands on Earth, and their diverse conditions, increase the chance that one of them will provide protection from a catastrophe. Additionally, this protection could be increased if an island was used as a base for a nuclear submarine refuge combined with underground bunkers and/or extremely long-term data storage. The requirements for survival on islands, their vulnerabilities and ways to mitigate and adapt to risks are explored. Several existing islands, suitable for the survival of different types of risk, timing and budgets, are examined. Islands suitable for different types of refuges and other island-like options that could also provide protection are also discussed.

Originality/value

The possible use of islands as refuges from social collapse and existential risks has not been previously examined systematically. This paper contributes to the expanding research on survival scenarios.

Details

foresight, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 October 2018

Phil Torres

This paper provides a detailed survey of the greatest dangers facing humanity this century. It argues that there are three broad classes of risks – the “Great Challenges”…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper provides a detailed survey of the greatest dangers facing humanity this century. It argues that there are three broad classes of risks – the “Great Challenges” – that deserve our immediate attention, namely, environmental degradation, which includes climate change and global biodiversity loss; the distribution of unprecedented destructive capabilities across society by dual-use emerging technologies; and value-misaligned algorithms that exceed human-level intelligence in every cognitive domain. After examining each of these challenges, the paper then outlines a handful of additional issues that are relevant to understanding our existential predicament and could complicate attempts to overcome the Great Challenges. The central aim of this paper is to constitute an authoritative resource, insofar as this is possible in a scholarly journal, for scholars who are working on or interested in existential risks. In the author’s view, this is precisely the sort of big-picture analysis that humanity needs more of, if we wish to navigate the obstacle course of existential dangers before us.

Design/methodology/approach

Comprehensive literature survey that culminates in a novel theoretical framework for thinking about global-scale risks.

Findings

If humanity wishes to survive and prosper in the coming centuries, then we must overcome three Great Challenges, each of which is sufficient to cause a significant loss of expected value in the future.

Originality/value

The Great Challenges framework offers a novel scheme that highlights the most pressing global-scale risks to human survival and prosperity. The author argues that the “big-picture” approach of this paper exemplifies the sort of scholarship that humanity needs more of to properly understand the various existential hazards that are unique to the twenty-first century.

Details

foresight, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 19 June 2009

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Abstract

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

Article
Publication date: 11 February 2019

Seth D. Baum, Stuart Armstrong, Timoteus Ekenstedt, Olle Häggström, Robin Hanson, Karin Kuhlemann, Matthijs M. Maas, James D. Miller, Markus Salmela, Anders Sandberg, Kaj Sotala, Phil Torres, Alexey Turchin and Roman V. Yampolskiy

This paper aims to formalize long-term trajectories of human civilization as a scientific and ethical field of study. The long-term trajectory of human civilization can be…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to formalize long-term trajectories of human civilization as a scientific and ethical field of study. The long-term trajectory of human civilization can be defined as the path that human civilization takes during the entire future time period in which human civilization could continue to exist.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper focuses on four types of trajectories: status quo trajectories, in which human civilization persists in a state broadly similar to its current state into the distant future; catastrophe trajectories, in which one or more events cause significant harm to human civilization; technological transformation trajectories, in which radical technological breakthroughs put human civilization on a fundamentally different course; and astronomical trajectories, in which human civilization expands beyond its home planet and into the accessible portions of the cosmos.

Findings

Status quo trajectories appear unlikely to persist into the distant future, especially in light of long-term astronomical processes. Several catastrophe, technological transformation and astronomical trajectories appear possible.

Originality/value

Some current actions may be able to affect the long-term trajectory. Whether these actions should be pursued depends on a mix of empirical and ethical factors. For some ethical frameworks, these actions may be especially important to pursue.

Details

foresight, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 August 2018

David Denkenberger, Joshua Pearce, Andrew Ray Taylor and Ryan Black

The purpose of this study is to estimate the price and life-saving potential of alternate foods. The sun could be blocked by asteroid impact, supervolcanic eruption or…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to estimate the price and life-saving potential of alternate foods. The sun could be blocked by asteroid impact, supervolcanic eruption or nuclear winter caused by burning of cities during a nuclear war. The primary problem in these scenarios is loss of food production. Previous work has shown that alternate foods not dependent on sunlight, such as bacteria grown on natural gas and cellulose turned into sugar enzymatically, could feed everyone in these catastrophes, and preparation for these foods would save lives in a manner that is highly cost-effective.

Design/methodology/approach

This study estimates the price of alternate foods during a catastrophe in line with global trade and information sharing, but factors such as migration, loans, aid or conflict are not taken into consideration.

Findings

Without alternate foods, for a five-year winter, only approximately 10 per cent of the population would survive. The price of dry food would rise to approximately $100/kg, and the expenditure on this food would be approximately $100tn. If alternate foods were $8/kg, the surviving global population increases to approximately 70 per cent, saving >4billion lives.

Research limitations/implications

A nongovernmental mechanism for coordinating the investments of rich people may be possible. Identifying companies whose interests align with alternate food preparations may save lives at a negative cost.

Practical implications

The probability of loss of civilization and its impact on future generations would be lower in this scenario, and the total expenditure on food would be halved.

Originality/value

Preparation for alternate foods is a good investment even for wealthy people who would survive without alternate foods.

Details

foresight, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 1 July 2021

Daniel William Mackenzie Wright

By drawing on current reports, this paper positions that Homo sapiens could in the near future be faced with an increasingly uninhabitable planet. It emphasises the…

Abstract

Purpose

By drawing on current reports, this paper positions that Homo sapiens could in the near future be faced with an increasingly uninhabitable planet. It emphasises the importance of adventure tourism and its associated activities as a means of supporting individuals to develop more outdoor survival skills.

Design/methodology/approach

This study applies a scenario narrative approach in exploring and presenting potential future ideas. The significance of narratives lies at the essential examination of current trends and drivers that could be shaping future scenarios. This paper, through the exploration of past and current trends supports the researcher in presenting future views. The scenario narratives in this research are established via desk-based research and inspection of academic journals, industry reports, ideas and knowledge.

Findings

If society is pushed to the brink of extinction due to a catastrophic event(s), people will require survival skills, similar to those shared by our hunter-gather nomad ancestor. Thus, this paper highlights the value and importance of the industry in encouraging soft and hard outdoor adventure in the coming years. It recognises how different adventure travel activities can support people in rekindling with our more basic instincts and ultimately, surviving in different natural environments.

Originality/value

This paper offers original theoretical knowledge within the adventure tourism literature. Offering original consideration to the value of exploring the past as a method of understanding the future, the paper presents an original spectrum of soft and hard skills-based adventure tourism activities.

Details

Journal of Tourism Futures, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-5911

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 September 2021

Mohamed Saeudy, Jill Atkins and Elisabetta A.V. Barone

This paper aims to contribute to a growing literature in sustainable and green banking by exploring the views of senior banking representatives towards the implementation…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to contribute to a growing literature in sustainable and green banking by exploring the views of senior banking representatives towards the implementation of sustainability initiatives through extensive interview research. The authors explore the extent to which such initiatives are embedded within the banking industry, whether they represent risk management mechanisms and whether they are imbued with reputational risk management rather than a genuine response to ethical societal concerns.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with UK bank managers. The interviewees’ utterances are interpreted through a sociological theoretical lens derived from the study of Giddens and Beck, allowing us to conclude that external initiatives such as the Equator Principles seem to be adopted as re-embedding mechanisms that can rebuild societal trust, as well as representing mechanisms of reputational risk management.

Findings

The analysis suggested that internal sustainability initiatives were interpreted as coping mechanisms whereby bank employees can recreate their protective cocoon, reinstating their ontological security in response to the high consequence risks of climate change and other related systemic factors that create overwhelming feelings of engulfment.

Originality/value

Using Beck’s risk society theory as a theoretical lens through which to interpret the interview data allows a number of concluding comments and suggestions to be made. The findings resonate with earlier research into institutional investors’ attitudes towards climate change that found their engagement and dialogue with companies around climate change issues to be imbued with a risk discourse: their initiatives and actions were dominated by risk management motivations.

Details

Qualitative Research in Financial Markets, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-4179

Keywords

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