Sunday, July 08, 2012

Review: Equal Worth: When Humanity Will Have Peace

Adil E. Shamoo, Equal Worth: When Humanity Will Have Peace. ISBN 978-0-7618-5820-1. Hardcover, 167 pages. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America; 2012.

Chapters 1-7 summarize just war theory and then summarizes the history of three conflict zones, Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, in its light. This portion of the book is essential for somebody who had not read anything on these topics. The author is careful to reference each passage, so the diligent reader can easily follow-up on any particular topic.

The unique contribution of this book is Chapter 8, "Morals in the Age of One Super-Power." The author calls on nation-states to behave morally because information technologies, in all their forms, have allowed more and more people around the world to evaluate the actions of state actors, and hence "[t]he tolerance for immoral acts in whatever sugar-coated reason presented can no longer last forever and the yearning for fair and moral treatment to each other [sic] is on a rapid rise." (p. 154)

Dr. Shamoo urges USA citizens to use the next 10-20 years, which the author estimates would be the limit on the United States's potential to provide unique world leadership on global issues, to take control of their democracy:
The current process for the consent of the governed is so flawed that it renders democracy in the United States dysfunctional. (p. 155)
United States media contribute to the destruction of the three pillars he identifies for democracy: "sufficient, accurate information, comprehension by the population, and lack of duress or undue influence (i.e. fear)." (p. 154) "Capitalism is good for innovation in science, technology, and business but it is not good for factual news." (p. 155)

I question whether USA citizens can or will do this. Dr. Shamoo has seen enough good from individual Americans over the time he's lived in the USA to believe that its citizens can compel their government to change its policies.

One issue which I wish the author would have addressed is humanitarian intervention, particularly as articulated by Samantha Power.

Dr. Shamoo has written extensively on the ethics of research. You can follow Dr. Shamoo on Twitter.