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Rethink HIV: Social Policy Perspective, Barnett

Perspective Paper

Development of social policy interventions in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been framed in the language of metaphors. Three critical and often used metaphors have been unexamined. This paper does three things:

  1. it examines these key metaphors;
  2. it describes how their use obscures some important problems which require working through prior to policy formulation;
  3. it suggests a possible diagnostic tool which does away with the need for these metaphors and may offer a way forward to more informed policy development.  

Cost benefit and cost effectiveness analysis are used to decide between competing social policy interventions.

The three metaphors to be discussed in Section 1 of the paper have been important in framing the questions to be addressed by cost benefit and cost effectiveness analyses. However, these commonly deployed metaphors disguise the fundamental ignorance with which we approach the problem at hand.

A Perspective Paper, Social Policy: Metaphors and Hope, has been written by Tony Barnett, Professor at the London School of Economics.