Biotechnology and the Spirit of Capitalism

The New Atlantis, Spring 2006 | Published on

By Eric Cohen

The moral meaning of capitalism has vexed us for centuries, and the age of biotechnology has only added to the perplexities. From selling human eggs to marketing impotence drugs to reality television shows about cosmetic surgery, bio-capitalism is becoming increasingly important. Eric Cohen looks back at capitalism’s origins and ahead to capitalism’s future, and wonders whether the new commerce of the body may force us to reconsider the moral aspirations and moral limits of capitalism itself.

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Embryonic Problems

National Review Online | Published on

By Eric Cohen and Robert P. George

For the past few years, the United States has engaged in an ethically weighty, politically charged, scientifically complex debate about stem cells and cloning. One side touts the medical promise of stem cells produced by destroying living human embryos, and blames the Bush administration for stalling the advance of science by restricting federal funding of embryonic-stem-cell research. The other side defends the moral worth of nascent human life, and promotes novel methods of deriving embryonic-type stem cells without destroying human embryos.

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Bioethics Policy Guide

| Published on

By Eric Cohen

Every so often, when some new scientific paper is published or new experiment revealed, the press pronounces the creation of the first bionic man—part human, part machine. Science fiction, they say, has become scientific reality; the age of cyborgs is finally here.

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Bioethics Policy Guide

| Published on

By Eric Cohen

The English chemist John Dalton first proposed the scientific theory of the atom two hundred years ago. Since then we have seen chemists come to understand the elements and their interactions, we have seen engineers make and use new materials to improve our lives, we have seen physicists demonstrate that even atoms are divisible, and we have seen warriors unleash the power of the atomic nucleus. In these two centuries we have amassed an enormous understanding of—and wielded an increasing control over—the fundamental units of matter.

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Bioethics Policy Guide

| Published on

By Eric Cohen

“Orphan” is one of those words that seems old-fashioned to modern ears — a word that evokes abject poverty in a Dickens novel. But in the years ahead, our reproductive technologies may lead us down a new, terrible path of creating orphans by design. In this case, the problem is not the tragic death of parents but the deliberate creation of children without living biological mothers or fathers — as if such bodily origins do not much matter, as if nurturing were the only dimension of parenthood that still has any meaning.

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