Life Is Now A Commodity
Introduction
Health Care and Reproductive Technology As If Society Mattered

In the 1970s, a political scientist named Robert Ayres wrote an article in a political science journal about Third World poverty and development schemes. In this article, Ayres observed that building new, well-equipped hospitals in South American cities actually costs lives. His premise was that, for every dollar spent to extend the life of one person in an expensive hospital, many more people could have been supplied with basic life-sustaining items, such as food, clean water and housing.

While the notions expressed in this article are buried deeply on college library bookshelves, and while this theme (even if deemed wholly original at the time of Ayresí presentation) has been echoed by others in the years since, Ayresí basic notion is disturbingly absent from contemporary public discourse.

And far worse than that...

Today, almost daily, the newspapers hail some new invention or legal development, principally in the realms of medicine and genetic and reproductive technology. The mediaís uncritical support and outright censorship of criticism of these technologies and laws is unsurprising, given that those who stand to make money off these developments advertise heavily in the media. Further, the notion that technology provides unalloyed, universal benefits has been widely internalized; indoctrination starts in elementary school.

The bioethicist/"experts" who have arrogated to themselves the task of evaluating the worth of these medical and reprotech inventions are largely libertarian, neo-fundamentalist advocates of technology (a/k/a "geeks", who, by the way, canít dance). They evaluate every invention and institutions from one fundamental perspective: Is the affluent, insured individual served, right now? Little consideration is given to the impact of inventions and institutions upon society or to impacts on future generations. No consideration is given to the emotional or spiritual impact of these inventions on the larger group.

This site reasserts the neglected notion that all individual lives are shaped by the larger physical and social environments in which they live. It considers the possibility that many inventions and policies that serve the short terms needs of a small number of individuals undermine the long term interests of the larger group.

In focusing on biotechnology, this site questions, for example, whether every affluent, insured person should have as many medical treatments as other humans can devise, despite that many people in other parts of the world lack basic life sustenance. It further questions whether every person who wishes to create a partial or complete genetic replica of themselves should.

This site provides a forum through which such alien-- but sensible, fair and broadly functional-- notions can be presented and discussed outside the censorship of a politically correct, individual-focused media.

Check out, in particular, the four rockiní, original tunes about technology run amok.

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