From Publishers Weekly
This is the most disturbing and damning report to date on the biotechnology revolution and its ethical and social consequences and risks. Kimbrell, policy director of the Foundation of Economic Trends in Washington, D.C., first looks at a new multibillion-dollar industry involving the manipulation and marketing of blood, organs and fetal parts. He then moves on to the patenting of genetically engineered animals and even of human "products" (e.g., cells and genes) and the selling of human reproductive materials. He condemns surrogate motherhood as a form of "bioslavery," and warns of the high ethical price of the new eugenics. Extrapolating from current trends, Kimbrell ominously predicts the genetic engineering of workers to enhance productive traits and the cloning of humans in the coming decades. His sane prescriptions for restricting the engineering and marketing of life cap his scary, Orwellian glimpse into a new biofuture. Photos. $25,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Given the title here, as well as the foreword by Jeremy Rifkin (biotechnology's most ardent antagonist), readers are well advised concerning the content of this polemic by the policy director of Rifkin's Foundation on Economic Trends. Like Ruth Hubbard and Elijah Wald in Exploding the Gene Myth (reviewed above), Kimbrell rings the alarm against genetic R&D and, in general, the ``commodification'' of the body--the commercial traffic in human body parts. But unlike Hubbard-Wald, Kimbrell inveighs against all forms of buying and selling--including blood donations, organ transplants, artificial insemination, and surrogate motherhood. The author relates sad tales of exploitation of the poor for the benefit of the rich, together with some truly horrendous accounts of the trials and failures of infertile couples to achieve parenthood (raising a question about the extent to which humans will submit to such ordeals). The case is well and truly made for regulating, if not banning, the baby-broker business and assorted in-vitro fertilization laboratories. Elsewhere, however, we find researchers considered no better than exploiters and fast- buck artists out to use fetuses as transplant material or to produce babies to order--assuming, as Kimbrell does, that it's only a matter of time before genes for IQ or beauty will be found. The author concludes with a philosophical review that finds Descartes the culprit in reducing bodies to machines and that extols the virtue of gift-giving and reverence for the body. Kimbrell sends a meaningful message--but at the price of dismissing any good to come from genetics research in favor of pietistic nay-saying. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.