What interesting social commentary have you read about in science fiction? Here's one I came across recently. Forgive the fact that it is somewhat outdated, but the book was published in 1986. I'm going to quote extensively. Ethan is from an all male world where children are gestated in uterine replicators from ovaries that were imported.
. . . Maybe they meant to raise battalions of mutant super-soldiers in vats like you Athosians and take over the universe or something."
"Not likely," remarked Ethan. "Not battalions, anyway."
"Why not? Why not clone as many as you want, once you've made the mold?"
"Oh, certainly, you could produce quantities of infants-although it would take enormous resources to do so. Highly trained techs, as well as equipment and supplies. But don't you see, that's just the beginning. It's nothing, compared to what it takes to raise a child. Why, on Athos it absorbs most of the planet's economic resources. Food of course-housing- education, clothing, medical care-it takes nearly all our efforts just to maintain population replacement, let alone to increase. No government could possibly afford to raise such a specialized, non-productive army."
Elli Quinn quirked an eyebrow. "How odd. On other worlds, people seem to come in floods, and they're not necessarily impoverished, either."
Ethan, diverted, said "Really? I don't see how that can be. Why, the labor costs alone of bringing a child to maturity are astronomical. There must be something wrong with your accounting."
Her eyes screwed up in an expression of sudden ironic insight. "Ah, but on other worlds the labor costs aren't added in. They're counted as free."
Ethan stared. "What an absurd bit of double thinking! Athosians would never sit still for such a hidden labor tax! Don't the primary nurturers even get social duty credits?"
"I believe," her voice was edged with a peculiar dryness, "they call it women's work. And the supply usually exceeds the demand-non-union scabs, as it were, undercutting the market."
Ethan of Athos
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