How might we understand the implementation of restrictive policies towards harmful products in the context of NCDs? Arguing for a shift in ethical perspectives in health policy: a political perfectionist approach
I joined both the Ethox Centre and the WHO Collaborating Centre on Population Approaches for Non Communicable Disease Prevention in October 2020. Before joining the department, I completed an MSc in Global Governance and Ethics at UCL and a BA (Hons) in Politics and International Relations at Lancaster University. My project is supervised by Dr Mike Rayner and Dr Mark Sheehan.
My research looks at the ethical and philosophical discussions surrounding the implementation of public health policies related to sugar. This includes a broad range of policies: taxes, volume/price based promotions, nudges, education/campaigns, import tariffs, bans etc. I look at these policies worldwide. My project assesses the political and ethical theories, which come into play in justifying and explaining the use of these policies. I look especially at two theories: Liberalism and Perfectionist Liberalism.
I however, also look at other theories like Libertarianism, Paternalism etc. I therefore study these policies through the lenses of these theories and attempt to understand whether these are ethically justified, whether the arguments presented to legitimise the policies are sufficient and how the theories contrast to each other. For instance, whether SSB taxes are legitimate from a Liberal perspective and whether it would be better (not not) justified and understood with different theories.
In doing so I look at the key values and concepts, which are important in the debates on the topic: liberty, autonomy, (free) choice, agency etc. I firstly use, discuss and present specific case studies of policies and then examine them philosophically, contrasting the theories and attempting to unravel some of the important ideas, discuss problems and misconceptions and see whether governments are legitimate in putting forward the policies, both from a public and individual perspective.