The Five Horsemen of the Modern World: Climate, Food, Water, Disease, and Obesity

Hardcover | May 10, 2016

byDaniel Callahan

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In recent decades, we have seen five perilous and interlocking trends dominate global discourse: irreversible climate change, extreme food and water shortages, rising chronic illnesses, and rampant obesity. Why can't we make any progress in counteracting these problems despite vast expenditures of intellectual, institutional, and social capital? What makes these global emergencies the "wicked problems" that resist our best efforts and only grow more daunting?

Daniel Callahan, noted author and the nation's preeminent scholar in bioethics, examines these global problems and shines a light on the institutions, practices, and actors that block major change. We see partisan political and ideological forces, old-fashioned hucksters, and trumped-up scientific disagreements but also the problem of modern progress itself. Obesity, anthropogenic climate change, degenerative diseases, ecological degradation, and global famine are often the unintended consequences of unchecked industrial growth, insatiable eating habits, and technologically extended life spans. Only through well-crafted political, regulatory, industrial, and cultural counterstrategies can we change enough minds to check these threats. With big thinking on issues that are usually evaluated separately, this book is sure to scramble partisan divides and provoke unusual, heated debate.

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In recent decades, we have seen five perilous and interlocking trends dominate global discourse: irreversible climate change, extreme food and water shortages, rising chronic illnesses, and rampant obesity. Why can't we make any progress in counteracting these problems despite vast expenditures of intellectual, institutional, and soci...

Daniel Callahan is president emeritus and cofounder of The Hastings Center, which focuses on ethical and policy issues. He has published seventeen volumes, including Taming the Beloved Beast: How Medical Technology Costs Are Destroying Our Health Care System (2009), Medicine and the Market: Equity v. Choice (2006); and What Price Bett...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:May 10, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231170025

ISBN - 13:9780231170024

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsI. Mapping an Irregular Terrain1. Our Overheating, Fraying Planet2. Feeding a Growing Population: How, and with What Kind of Food?3. Water: Not Everywhere and Not Always Fit to Drink4. Chronic Illness: Rich or Poor, Few Escape5. Obesity: The Scourge of Bad Diets and Sedentary HabitsII. Examining the Pathways Through the Thickets6. Always More People and Ever More Elderly: Caring and Paying7. The Technology Fix: A Way Out?8. A Volatile Mix: Public Policy, the Media, and Public Opinion9. Law and Governance: Managing Our Public Planet and Our Private BodiesIII. Toward the Future: Progress, Hope, and Fear10. Progress and Its Errant Children: More Is Never Enough11. The Necessary Coalition: Social Movements, Legislatures, and BusinessNotesIndex

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