Should We Aim to Create a Perfect Healthy Utopia? Discussions of Ethical Issues Surrounding the World of Project Itoh’s Harmony

Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (6):3249-3270 (2020)

Abstract

To consider whether or not we should aim to create a perfect healthy utopia on Earth, we focus on the SF novel Harmony, written by Japanese writer Project Ito, and analyze various issues in the world established in the novel from a bioethical standpoint. In the world depicted in Harmony, preserving health and life is a top priority. Super-medicine is realized through highly advanced medical technologies. Citizens in Harmony are required to strictly control themselves to achieve perfect health and must always disclose their health information to the public and continuously prove their health. From a bioethical standpoint, the world in Harmony is governed by a “healthy longevity supremacy” principle, with being healthy equated to being good and right. Privacy no longer exists, as it is perceived ethical for citizens to openly communicate health-related information to establish one’s credibility. Moreover, there is no room for self-determination concerning healthcare because medical interventions and care are completely routinized, automated, centralized, and instantly provided. This is a situation where the community exhibits extremely powerful and effective paternalism. One can argue that healthy longevity is highly preferred. But is it right to aim for a perfectly healthy society at all costs? Should we sacrifice freedom, privacy, vivid feelings, and personal dignity to achieve such a world? In our view, the answer is no, as this would require the loss of many essential values. We conclude by proposing an alternative governing principle for future healthcare, and refer to it as the “do-everything-in-moderation” principle.

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