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Lester Thurow advocates genetic enhancement

Genetic Crossroads
November 21st, 1999

In his latest book (Creating Wealth: The New Rules for Individuals,

Companies and Nations in a Knowledge-Based Economy, New York:
Harper Collins), MIT economist Lester Thurow writes,

"Some will hate it, some will love it, but biotechnology is
inevitably leading to a world in which plants, animals and human
beings are going to be partly man-made….Giving genetic dwarfs
normal height is no different from making normal children into
basketball players. Suppose parents could add 30 points to their
children's IQ. Wouldn't you want to do it? And if you don't,
your child will be the stupidest child in the neighborhood" (p 33).

"A hundred years ago our ancestors regarded wolves and mountain
lions as we regard germs, and were as eager to eradicate them.
A hundred years from now, with partially man-made plants, animals
and human beings long accepted realities, what it means to talk
about the natural environment will be just as different. The
term `genetic defects' will have a widely expanded, very
different meaning" (p 116).

Thurow's comments demonstrate that the techno-eugenic vision can
completely grab an otherwise reasonable, educated person—even one
with no professional or prestige self-interest in the technology.
His enthusiasm for human genetic "enhancement" has no necessary
relation to anything else in his book—but it makes clear that
what is at stake in the currrent debate over genetic engineering
goes far beyond "health, safety, and informed consent."

Note: Professor Thurow included his email address in a preface.
It is: [email protected] Please let him know what you think of his
comments concerning biotechnology, and ask him for a response.


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