Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
ARTURO CHAVES, Jorge. Proposal for an ethical and interdisciplinary approach to the design and implementation of public policies. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2000, vol.7, n.5, pp. 350-357. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892000000500014.
This article discussess important concepts on ethics applied to the design and evaluation of public policies and explores several complex notions, such as quality of life, equity, development, and well-being, and the way in which they have been interpreted at different times. It examines the ideology of Amyrta Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics, and the parameters he proposed in order to counter the tendency to conceive of human well-being and social progress in strictly economic terms, on the basis of the gross domestic product and other mathematical formulas and numerical indicators. In the design and implementation of public policies, both in the field of health as well as in others, such as education and housing, it is imperative to apply an ethical and interdisciplinary approach based on a practical and realistic view of economics and on the active participation of the beneficiaries of the policies in defining the values and priorities behind them. In this way, ethical judgment will always be present and will inspire, "from within," every step of the policy design process, and those affected by the policies will become legitimate agents in their design and implementation. The last part of the article describes the steps involved in this ethical and interdisciplinary design process, as well as its realistic and idealistic components.