A Shot of Justice: Priority-Setting for Addressing Child Mortality
Contents: Preface. 1. Need for a shot of justice. 2. Metrics of justice. 3. The prospects of survival. 4. The architecture of survival. 5. Which shot of justice? Index. Children have been guaranteed an equal right to life, yet millions of them continue to die due to preventable causes. Their deaths are widely perceived as a biomedical issue, with vaccinations being presented as the ultimate life-saving intervention. This book argues that a clear and consistent pattern of preventable child deaths is primarily a problem of justice. It engages with the debate on ‘equalisandum’-what (metric) needs to be equalized across individuals in a just society-in modern theories of justice in the context of trends in child survival and access to its determinants among selected groups in India. It argues that Amartya Sen’s multifocal metric of justice-with a central focus on ‘maximal potentials’ or ‘capabilities’-is more plausible than its counterparts since it allows equity considerations to be met without compromising the potentials of the better-off or aggregative concerns. It concludes that such an approach to justice is relevant for affirmative action policies too, which have long been a source of enormous resentment, especially in India and the United States.