Week 6 Reflection
Jenny Han

I am no crystal gazer, but I hope my post-college adventures to be ripe with meaning and marked by mental and financial stability. I don’t know what type of situation I’ll be in after I graduate, but I will work tirelessly (whether or not this is STEM related, we’ll see). I am conflicted about my role in society through and beyond STEM because I waver between defending for everyone’s basic rights and the necessity of sacrificing a few for the net benefit of all. I feel like every contribution to this society has its consequences, and it may not be within our capabilities with our limited foresight to be able to analyze the amount of pain, discomfort, or horror in our communities through our innovations, thoughts, or actions.
I found it interesting that Emanuel stated that “U.S. pharmaceutical companies should increase their spending on research and development (R&D), or perhaps be federally required to do so” and “The Social Responsibility of Science” article on how “scientists also have ‘external,’ social responsibilities ‘toward the larger community,’” because both ideas presume that the highest good is the wellbeing of the society. I don’t think that’s a disagreeable goal, but rather impractical by the viewpoint of our current society: for example, the current medical landscape allows for a minimal baseline payment by federal organizations for medical research, and then all three stages of clinical trials thereafter are paid by the private companies. And the more innovative or potentially game-changing drug, the more likely the trials will be wildly more expensive and riskier just because of its novelty, so drug companies are actually endorsed to create generic and slightly-new-but-not-really drugs. This is just one example of how social theory of responsibilities may not be applied in actual society.

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