University under the auspices of the Institute of Advanced Study. Her lecture on ‘Democracy, Liberty, Human Rights - Universal panaceas or Western constructs?’ was presented to a pack auditorium, weaving a careful line between a defence of basic rights that apply in all contexts, and a critique of Western impositions in countries and cultures with their own unique definitions of what it is to be human.
To download Baroness Kennedy’s lecture please visit: www.durham.ac.uk/ias/events/
The Management and Governance of Housing Wealth
In February 2007, in the wake of what the Economist dubbed ‘the biggest bubble in history', Professor Susan J Smith, one of the Directors of the IAS, hosted a high-level policy workshop on housing wealth. Supported by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and the IAS, the workshop considered the costs and opportunities of house price appreciation, and in particular the practice and wisdom of concentrating households' wealth into owner occupied housing. The workshop brought together a small group of researchers from Australasia, Europe and North America to brainstorm a range of issues around the governance and use of housing wealth, and the management of associated financial risks. Two questions lay at the heart of the meeting: To what extent is housing wealth viewed, accumulated and used as a financial resource, and in particular to what extent does it have a safety net or insurance role for individuals and communities? And what are the costs of positioning housing wealth as a cornerstone of economic management and as an asset base for welfare; how can any benefits of this strategy be maximised, and the risks effectively managed?
The workshop was extremely timely and was prefaced by an announcement of the findings from Susan Smith and Beverley Searle’s
ESRC/AHRC funded project 'Banking on Housing; Spending the Home'. Susan and Beverley have since co-edited The Housing Wealth of Nations(WileyBlackwell, December 2009).
Details of this workshop and the report’s key findings can be found at: www.geography.durham.ac.uk/
Setting a Value on Human Life
In developing its guidance on the use of medicines, treatments and procedures within the NHS, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) uses quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) to measure how many extra months or years of reasonable quality of life a person might gain as a result of a treatment. It implies a value on human life of about £30,000 per year. What does this mean? How does the valuation compare with other ways of valuing human life? What difference do such valuations make to the decisions of those who use them? Is it helpful and ethical to value human life on these terms?
As part of the its ‘Being Human’ programme, the Institute collaborated with the Durham Forum for Health to jointly host a public forum that brought together a panel consisting of an economist, theologian, a psychiatrist, a lawyer, and chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, to discuss these issues with a wide range of health care professionals (practitioners and policy-makers), academics and interested members of the general public. The event was a huge success with a packed audience and a lively debate and is typical of the type of event the Institute tries to host for each of its themes. It both appreciated the attempt to value life in monetary terms to enable the health service to plan efficiently, but it also revealed the many other forms of valuation that cannot be reduced to numbers.
‘In the Beginning’: painting by Chris Gollon
The Bom Boys from the ‘On Being Human’ Exhibition
Professor Jill Gordon, IAS Fellow, in conversation with HRH Prince Hassan of Jordan
‘Vessels of Life’: sculpture by Ranjitsinh Gaekwad
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19
| Page 20
| Page 21
| Page 22