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The final chapter discusses the long-term prospects for the Earth, including demographic changes that are likely to have important long-term implications for humanity, such as the overall decrease in the birth rate, the trends towards increasing literacy, and the importance of educating and empowering women as a factor in the economic progression of societies (perhaps the strongest predictor of economic success in a society). It reviews some of the confounding influences retarding world progression (e.g. our inherent bias towards short-term decision-making, especially in the context of debates over responses to climate change), and how some societies have helped address them successfully. In general, much of human history is the struggle between our impulses and our intellect, and there are innumerable instances of historical ‘failure’, but trends generally point towards improved economics and human rights over the long-term arc of human history.
The paper investigates the validity of individual perceptions of heart disease risks, and examines how information and risk perceptions affect marginal willingness to pay (MWTP) to reduce risk, using data from a stated preference survey. Results indicate that risk perceptions held before receiving risk information are plausibly related to objective risk factors and reflect individual-specific information not found in aggregate measures of objective risk. After receiving information, individuals’ updates of prior risk assessments are broadly consistent with Bayesian learning. Perceived heart disease risks thus satisfy construct validity and provide a valid basis for inferring MWTP to reduce risk. Consistent estimators of the relationship of MWTP to endogenously perceived risk are developed. Estimating MWTP based on objective rather than subjective risks causes misleading inferences about benefits of risk reduction. An empirical case study shows that estimated benefits may be as much as 60–98 % higher when estimated using individuals’ heterogeneous perceptions of risk than when using aggregate estimates of objective risk. The main contributions include assessing the validity of risk perceptions and their updating, consistently estimating the relationship between MWTP and endogenously perceived risk, and demonstrating the importance of employing risk perception information for accurate benefit measurement.
This chapter continues exploring powers from the inside. The Informational Thesis claims that powers carry representational, nonpropositional, map-like information geared toward their potential manifestations. First, this chapter motivates an ontological connection between information and powers via two arguments, one based on physics and one based on causation. Second, the modality of powers from the inside is illuminated using the blueprinting metaphor advanced by Neil Williams, which centrally involves an informational component. This prompts a more detailed discussion of the nature of information. Third, some important implications of the Informational Thesis are discussed, including its relation to the dispositional modality posited by Rani Lill Anjum and Stephen Mumford, the analysis of powers (dispositions), and the power/quality (dispositional/categorical) distinction. The chapter’s conclusion explores how the three d’s of the 3d account are interrelated and form a rich, novel account of powers.
This chapter describes some of the interventions that currently exist for children, young people and families, those which have been evaluated and the results for these evaluations have been reported. More rigorous methodologies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, to ensure that they, in effect, support children, young people and families. Comparison between interventions is difficult because they use different measures and compare different outcomes. The more effective interventions share core components but are also flexible to adapt to the specific needs of families. These core components include the provision of information, improve communication, emotional skills, increase social support and coping skills.
This chapter sets out the central argument of this book – that personal bioinformation has critical roles to play in our construction of self-narratives that are capable of remaining coherent and inhabitable when confronted by our embodied and socially embedded experiences and of supporting us in making sense of and navigating these experiences. It suggests that our lives and experiences are inescapably those of embodied beings and outlines what is entailed by this claim. It proposes that any satisfactory account of narrative self-constitution must accommodate the significance of our embodiment as the context in which we construct our self-narratives and as the source of both narrative contents and limits upon unfettered self-definition. From these premises, this chapter argues that personal bioinformation – to the extent that it provides reliable and meaningful insights into our bodily and biological states, capacities, and relationships – can provide vital constitutive and interpretive tools for the interpretation and construction of our embodied self-narratives. This discussion distinguishes its position from suggestions that personal bioinformation gets us closer to narrative ‘truth’ and responds to concerns that proposing a narrative role for bioinformation commits us to the view that our identities are defined by our biology or bodies as objects.
Increasing quantities and varieties of information about our health, bodies, and biology are being generated through healthcare, research, and surveillance and by biotechnologies and personal devices. This heightens the imperative to address ethical and regulatory questions about who should have access to these kinds of information and how access might impact the interests of information subjects. While bioethics and the law routinely attend to the utility of such information for health-related purposes and to potential risks of discrimination or invasions of privacy, considerably less attention is paid to the impacts of information subjects’ own encounters with this information on their identities. This chapter suggests this is a serious gap and establishes the central aim of the book – to provide a conceptually and normatively robust account of our identity interests and the ways in which these may be affected, for better or worse, by our access to our own ‘personal bioinformation’ about ourselves. It explains why ‘identity’ understood as practical self-characterisation provides the appropriate ethical focus for this inquiry. It describes what is captured by the phrase ‘personal bioinformation’, the settings in which this information may be encountered, and thus the range of circumstances to which the subsequent arguments apply.
This chapter maps the practical, conceptual, and normative gaps that this book seeks to fill. It does so, first, by exploring information subjects’ limited entitlements to access bioinformation about themselves on identity-related grounds, under existing laws and policies in the UK. It observes that while there are various provisions allowing subject access to bioinformation, those explicitly premised on identity interests are currently restricted to genetic information, particularly that concerning genetic parentage. This represents not only narrow protection of potential identity-related interests but also reflects an inadequate conception of these interests, one which risks being both unwarranted exceptionalist and promulgating a geneticised view of identity. Seeking ways to address these shortcomings, the discussion turns to assess whether existing theoretical framings of the relationship between personal bioinformation and identity might be capable of providing a satisfactory conception of identity-related interests in access. This review identifies a number of promising interpretations of this relationship, but it is argued that, taken on their own, many of these lack sufficient explanatory and normative foundations. This chapter concludes by proposing that a cluster of accounts that appeal to the concept of narrative identity offer a fruitful avenue for further investigation.
If the arguments of the preceding chapters are to be practically useful, it is necessary to move beyond claims about ‘personal bioinformation’ as a broad category, to locate how and why different bioinformation encounters may impact our identities in a variety of ways. It is also necessary to unpack further what attending to identity interests adds to the ethical and regulatory landscape. The chapter addresses each of these aims. It starts by reviewing the nature and strength of our identity-related interests – both in accessing personal bioinformation that supports the development and maintenance of inhabitable embodied self-narratives and in doing so in waysthat support this inhabitability. The discussion then explores the factors affecting when and why different information encounters engage or serve this fundamental interest. This entails examining why some kinds of bioinformation are experienced as having particular identity-significance at all and the factors shaping whether it then supports or undermines the inhabitability of our self-narratives. The chapter concludes by demonstrating that our narrative identity interests are neither coextensive nor reducible to the kinds of ethical concerns that currently dominate bioethical debates and information disclosure policies and the need to attend to identity impacts in their own right.
Building on the specification of our information-related identity interests in the preceding chapter, this penultimate chapter sets out the source and scope of other parties’ ethical responsibilities to meet these interests. These are obligations accruing chiefly to those who hold personal bioinformation about us or are in a possible to control its disclosure. This chapter argues that disclosure responsibilities are grounded in the strength of our interests in developing and maintaining inhabitable self-narratives, combined with our mutual dependence on and vulnerability to the conduct of others when it comes to fulfilling this interest. These factors ground ethical ‘responsibilities to help’ by offering, providing, or facilitating access to personal bioinformation or, sometimes, refraining from doing so. These are pro tanto responsibilities – they hold in the absence of stronger countervailing reasons to do otherwise. They will also vary depending on the nature of the information and the roles and relationship between potential discloser and recipient. These responsibilities extend not only to those to offer and disclose personal bioinformation but also to ascertain potential recipients’ identity needs and to disclose in discursive, individually responsive, and identity-supporting ways. The chapter explains what this kind of identity support entails.
This chapter explores the preceding theory-based propositions, concerning the narrative roles of personal bioinformation, in light of people’s attitudes to and experiences of encountering three categories of bioinformation about themselves, as reported by empirical studies. These three categories are: information revealing conception using donor gametes, results from genetic tests indicating disease susceptibility, and findings from mental health applications of neuroimaging. These findings help illustrate the theory-based claims presented in Chapter 4 while also sense-testing and refining these claims with the benefit of insights into information subjects’ lived experiences. This chapter first outlines a sample of relevant findings, casting the net wider than those that explicitly frame subjects’ experiences in terms of identity. It then analyses these findings through the lens of embodied and relational narrative self-constitution, highlighting the range of positive and detrimental impacts that bioinformation can have on recipients’ identity narratives. These impacts include playing enabling, explanatory, practical, revisionary, and restrictive roles. The chapter concludes by identifying common and divergent themes across the three examples. This equips us better to understand diversity amongst recipients’ reactions to different information and also to extrapolate beyond specific observations relating to the three illustrative examples.
Increasing quantities of information about our health, bodies, and biological relationships are being generated by health technologies, research, and surveillance. This escalation presents challenges to us all when it comes to deciding how to manage this information and what should be disclosed to the very people it describes. This book establishes the ethical imperative to take seriously the potential impacts on our identities of encountering bioinformation about ourselves. Emily Postan argues that identity interests in accessing personal bioinformation are currently under-protected in law and often linked to problematic bio-essentialist assumptions. Drawing on a picture of identity constructed through embodied self-narratives, and examples of people's encounters with diverse kinds of information, Postan addresses these gaps. This book provides a robust account of the source, scope, and ethical significance of our identity-related interests in accessing – and not accessing – bioinformation about ourselves, and the need for disclosure practices to respond appropriately. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
This study details the results of an experimental intervention designed to address the issue of price anchoring in the choice experiment framework. The intervention, which informs respondents of the tendency to anchor choices on potentially arbitrary pieces of information, is applied to a choice experiment used to examine consumers’ willingness to pay for local and/or organic tomatoes in Northern New England and develops three primary contributions. First, evidence from this study shows that anchoring effects are present. Second, providing information to consumers plays a mitigating role on these effects; price anchoring changes willing to pay estimates between 44% and 51% and exposure to anchoring-specific cheap talk is associated with a reduction in these anchoring effects between 60% and 80%. These results are explained through decreases in price sensitivity induced by increasing the mean price vector and subsequent increases in price sensitivity due to the information intervention. Finally, this study reveals that consumers are willing to pay a substantial price premium for locally grown tomatoes, from $0.96 to $1.12 per pound, offering some guidance for policy regarding growing practice and farm land use as regional coalitions support local agriculture expansion in the Northeast.
Where is the line between virtual and real? This chapter introduces readers to the complex components, physical and virtual, which constitute our rapidly changing digital world. It examines how digital forms of representation blur the boundaries between what is considered material. The chapter addresses issues of transcendence and transgression in virtual space.
With personal information an overt ‘site of struggle’ in contemporary politics, how do non-state actors gather data but also craft their authority to do so? This chapter shifts the site of Informational Relations spatially, away from the lofty ‘international’, as well as temporally, to earlier in this chain of events. The authority of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to gather data is often treated as antecedent, but collecting Others’ information and acting as repositories are themselves invocations of authority. While a key driver of this book has been the importance of ideas in crafting everyday authority, legitimation’s material consequences are highly conspicuous in this process of gathering information: it is a core NGO ‘currency’. This chapter focuses on the collection of data, whereby the authority of NGOs is instantiated through acts of monitoring and verification, both laterally with respect to peers and vertically to communities. It pits NGO against NGO; NGO against local government; village volunteers against their leaders and peers. NGOs thus find themselves enmeshed within a complex informational ecosystem that is truly global. Given the clear fungibility of information, the gathering of data proved one of the most contentious legitimation practices.
When do voters punish corrupt politicians? Heterogeneous views about the importance of corruption can determine whether or not increased information enhances accountability. If partisan cleavages correlate with the importance voters place on corruption, then the consequences of information may vary by candidate, even when voters identify multiple candidates as corrupt. We provide evidence of this mechanism from a field experiment in a mayoral election in Brazil where a reputable interest group declared both candidates corrupt. We distributed fliers in the runoff mayoral election in São Paulo. Informing voters about the challenger's record reduced turnout by 1.9 percentage points and increased the opponent's vote by 2.6 percentage points. Informing voters about the incumbent's record had no effect on behavior. We attribute this divergent finding to differences in how each candidate's supporters view corruption. Using survey data and a survey experiment, we show that the challenger's supporters are more willing to punish their candidate for corruption, while the incumbent's supporters lack this inclination.
Computational information processing has gradually supplanted traditional records and recordkeeping for the physical record, undermining practices centered on the “moral defense” of the record and supplanting them with practices centred on datafication. Prioritizing data malleability rather than the defense of information from manipulation and corruption has, this chapter argues, contributed to the current diminution of the trustworthiness of information and an unravelling of society’s evidentiary foundations. Fields such as archival science and the law have long considered questions of how records may testify to the events and actions of which they form a part – serving as proofs of claims, that is, as evidentials – but research in the field of computing has only relatively recently focused on these issues. Despite its roots in computing culture, blockchain technology offers the promise of an immutable ledger that may halt the processes of datafication contributing to the current widespread potential for manipulation of records. The design and spirit of blockchains – offering the ability to cryptographically “fix” the record, chaining it in place so that any tampering is extremely difficult and immediately evident – harks back to a pre-digital past when the materiality of paper records more readily fixed in place transactional “facts” and protected their integrity from manipulation.
Dialogue can be used to develop characters and progress plot but also needs to be dramatically necessary: characters need good reasons to impart information. Characters’ voices need to be differentiated. Dialogue injects energy; too much reported speech and action saps it. How to deliver information through dialogue without it feeling artificial. The value of what is not said and what stands behind the spoken words. The significance of silence. The constructed nature of ‘realistic’ dialogue. The debate over ‘said’. A guide to conventional and unconventional ways of punctuating dialogue. Managing accent and dialect. The problem of ‘other world’ speech. Managing a character’s thoughts.
‘If dialogue in fiction faithfully reflected speech in real life it would often be boring – full of repetitions, non sequiturs, digressions, irrelevancies, trivia and hesitations; it would also take up far too much space. The writer’s aim is to make dialogue appear authentic.’
Chapter 5, “Information Wars,” is the opening case study of four intelligentsia-built resistance systems, which consider how the intelligentsia responded to Nazi persecution with projects bent on maintaining national traditions and rebuilding a Polish state. It examines the one that undergirds the rest: underground information creation and trafficking that kept the elite connected and funneled news into and out of the city. In response to the closure of Polish-language press, radio bookstores, and libraries, a number of educated Poles created an underground world of secret newsletters and journals to keep the city informed about occupier behavior and the circumstances of the wider war. This project involved entangled networks of individuals who were brutally punished if caught, and the work of writing, editing, couriering, and reading underground press initiated many Varsovians into anti-Nazi “conspiracies.” Information sourced in the occupied city was not merely for local consumption but was painstakingly smuggled out by a sprawling network of Polish and international couriers toting encrypted information to the states of the Grand Alliance. This chapter argues that the ability of Poles in Warsaw to counter Nazi propaganda narratives with their own information was essential to all later successful opposition.
Anti-crime policy is often unresponsive to reductions in crime. To address why, we provide a model and empirical test of how citizens’ anti-crime policy preferences respond to information. Our model shows that preferences for anti-crime policy hinge on expectations about the crime rate: punitive policies are preferred in high crime contexts, whereas social policies are preferred in low crime contexts. We evaluate these expectations through an information experiment embedded in the 2017 Latin American Public Opinion Project survey conducted in Panama. As expected by our theory, a high crime message induced stronger preferences in favour of punitive policies. Unanticipated by our theory, but in line with cursory evidence and survey results, we find that a low crime message did not induce stronger preferences in favour of social policies. These findings are consistent with policy ratcheting: punitive policies increase during periods of high crime and remain in place during periods of low crime.
Do perceived obstacles about corruption matter for Indian firms when it comes to their probability to innovate? Using World Bank Enterprise Survey firm-level data, we show that a unit rise in corruption perception of firms in India lowers innovation rate by about 1 percent. The result is important in terms of policy implementation because recent studies have shown that perceived obstacles can affect firms’ probability to innovate. Such analysis is missing in the Indian context where both big and petty corruption is rampant. Our results further show that perceptions about financial barriers matter only when firms also view corruption to be bad. Perceived difficulty in accessing credit in conjunction with corruption perception lowers probability of innovation by 4 percent. This is also true for nonfinancial perceived obstacles of firms. The results remain robust to alternate identification strategies.