Europe in Search of Europeans   /   Spring 2014   /    Essays

In Me We Trust

Public Health, Personalized Medicine, and the Common Good

Donna Dickenson

Illustration © Lee Woodgate/Getty Images.

What we are actually witnessing in the genetic enclosure movement is the tragedy of the anti-commons.

Half of the population refuses to accept transfusions from public blood banks, trusting blood taken only from a family member or personally banked stocks. Is this just another example of Americans’ ruggedly individualistic distrust of all things public?

You might well think so, but the population in question is European. The finding comes from a Eurobarometer survey of European public opinion, evidence of increasingly transnational misgivings about what sociologist Richard Titmuss described in The Gift Relationship as the quintessential symbol of social solidarity: blood donation. In the wake of a series of scandals in France, Great Britain, and elsewhere in Europe, blood donation is becoming personalized and privatized on a global level.

To read the full article online, please login to your account or subscribe to our digital edition ($25 yearly). Prefer print? Order back issues or subscribe to our print edition ($30 yearly).