What Are Some Key Ethical Issues Facing Contemporary Society?

Some key ethical issues facing contemporary society include how to provide welfare and charity support to the poor, how to deal with addiction, whether to permit euthanasia, how to treat animals and the environment and what stance to take on population control. Government corruption and wealth disparity both remain perennial ethical issues, along with society’s approach to rehabilitating criminals.

To go into more detail on the issue of supporting the poor, the debate is complicated by notions of the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor. Whether to support poor people with no interest in helping themselves, for example, is a divisive question among the public.

The aforementioned issues represent only a sample of the many ethical questions facing contemporary society. In brief, the following are equally contentious issues with deep ethical implications:

  • Abortion
  • The intervention of the state in cases of unfit parenting
  • Drug prohibition
  • Public support (such as “bailing out”) of private businesses
  • Free healthcare
  • Immigration
  • Differential treatment of ‘gifted’ children in schools
  • Equal rights for homosexuals
  • Freedom of speech

One of the most dominant ethical issues facing contemporary society, however, is that of online privacy. Following the revelations of widespread data collection by the United States government, among others, the public has to decide whether to push for legislation that would safeguard their online privacy, and which criteria, if any, should first be met by government agencies before invading civilians’ privacy.