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The Human Body Shop: The Engineering and Marketing of Life Hardcover – April, 1993


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Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st edition (April 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062505246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062505248
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,801,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Don Barzyk on May 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
Highly recommended! Kimbrell's book is both thought provoking and informative and is very hard to put down. He addresses the things that the newspapers do not tell us about surrogate motherhood, organ marketing and genetic engineering. He tells about the odd court cases and rulings dealing with issues society has never had to deal with before. He also gives examples of how genetics is being used to affect our lives without our consent. The book does an excellent job of raising the reader's awareness of how our species future is presently at a crossroads and why we should be concerned. Interesting topic, clearly presented and well referenced for those wanting more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By adobe goddess on October 27, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Are you human? Do you have a body? Are you and organ donor?

Are you not an organ donor? Are you pro life or pro choice? Well then this book is for you.

It is out of date, but still very important. The out of date part just has to do with the fact that things have changed and more issues have developed since this book.

There is a reviewer here who says he is in the footnotes. Can he contact Andrew Kimbrell and have this book continued out to our current date, so I do not have to explain this book is out of date, but important. Used bookstores ignore this book because it is so old. They do not realize how important it still is. Old book do not have it do not want to obtain it is their attitude.

My only complaint you have to keep adding to this book each year or start an updated website like some books have with a note in the new book to go to it for updates on current bio ethical issues.

Who gets the parts? Who makes the parts?

Want to think further go for this topic and read fiction?

1)Read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley a book way ahead of its time.

2)Rent the Movie The Island a curent movie.

The main take away is that we need to talk about and deal with these ethics. Every one needs to think about their values and not ignore this. Obviously the answer is not an easy one, but get more facts. If you have not read this you are probably missing facts.

One reviewer says this is not a ballanced book nope it is not, but we do not hear this perspective much at all so it provides ballance in the world.

Amazon has a reference for this if you like this you will like other books. Body for Life. That is a diet book, so you really want to skim those suggestions because they just pull up books that say body in them that have nothing to do with bio-ethics or this book. Obviously computer generated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By adobe goddess on October 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You really need to read this. It is an important book about bio-ethics. It is out of date, but it still is really important. The reason it is out of date is that it needs to continue onward. I purchase this book and have my friends read it. They are shocked when they read it. It is really important that you know this information. This is about your life and your body and improtant issues that were just glossed over by society. Do you realize the value of your DNA and your organs in money terms? Is that correct ethically that our body means dollars??? Who gets these organs? Is it really random? What do they do with a placenta after a human gives birth? This is your personal property and look what is being done with it.
Super Stimulating Non Fiction read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By cmrof on March 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Given the speed with which medical technology is advancing, this book may seem a bit dated. Thus only four stars. However, it provides informative background material to the practice of buying and selling human body parts and genetic material. Makes one feel that we have been so dedicated to our pursuit of "rights" that we have let some very powerful and potentially devastating practices develop without even questioning them. A valuable introduction to some troubling prospects.
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