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VOGEL LIBRARY

Never Let Me Go: Knight Reading, 2018-2019: The Ethics
of Convenience

What we forget to get what we have

In a pivotal scene near the end of the book, Miss Emily comments that their society will never stop harvesting the human clones for organs because no one wants to go back to a world where cancer is incurable. Although we do not have such drastic examples of cost=convenience today (or do we?), there are plenty of things that touch us in our everyday lives that provide us convenience that had real human or animal costs. The brutal chattel slavery inflicted by the United States on captured Africans to produce a prosperous and politically independent nation is one such historic cost. But what are some present day costs for what we value as "too convenient" or "too fun" to put an end to?

Use the tips on the linked "Research Guide" (on the tabs above) to learn how to search for books and for articles in databases. Listed here are simply a few book and article options to facilitate the session.

Convenient Medical Advancements

Not all human societies, and not everyone in our society, has always viewed animals and other humans deemed "lesser" as unworthy of the freedom of consent. But the society of the United States has and still does--in the past, with scientific experiments on African Americans, and today in many other forms.

Convenient Entertainment

You may have grown up adoring the antics of trained whales and dolphins at places like SeaWorld. But the cost to these highly intelligent animals--from the way they were hunted and captured to the terms of their captivity--was hidden for far too long.

"The ones who walk away from Omelas"

"The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" is a classic short story by the science fiction great Ursula K. Le Guin. Perhaps you read this in high school. If not, take a few minutes to read it now (it's only a few pages long). The story does an excellent job of demonstrating the ethics (or rather, the unethical nature) of convenience.

Convenient Amazon Prime

Who would go back to 5-10 shipping days for Amazon orders once we've experienced the pleasure of receiving an order 2 days after placing it? Yet this quick turnaround--and Amazon's offerings of almost anything imaginable--comes at a cost. A human cost.

Convenient everyday products

From sugar to rubber to coffee, many of the products we use every day have questionable origins in terms of human rights (and environmental health). Look into the products you use to see how they come about.