We’re getting ever-closer to the day when we’ll be able to genetically modify babies in the womb to produce children who are, basically, better. They’ll likely be smarter, and far healthier. Hopefully they’ll live longer lives, and be free of many of the problems that have plagued humanity for generations. I see no problem here, especially because I hold out hope for genetic engineering for those of us already alive that will accomplish much the same thing.
But some people out there get afraid of this sort of notion. They talk about how this will mean that people will only have blond-haired, blue-eyed, baby boys, and that worse, only the rich will be able to afford these services, leaving the rest of us out in the cold.
Now I don’t know about you, but if I were to be having a kid and could pick things like their sex, their hair and eye color, their intelligence levels, etc…eh, I might. A bit. I’d want to get rid of the pattern baldness that lingers in my family’s DNA, and certainly boosting the kid’s intellect would be a good idea. But I wouldn’t really care about hair color, eye color or gender, and I’m willing to bet most other people wouldn’t really, either. But even if they do, so what? If most people make their kids blond-haired and blue-eyed, then eventually the people who aren’t those things will be the exotic minority. So not much to worry about here.
But what about the idea that the rich will be the only ones who can afford this service? I can’t think of a single service out there that exists only and solely for the rich and doesn’t have an equivalent that’s affordable by pretty much all income levels. The rich, for example, have iPads. But so do the middle class and a lot of the poor. The really poor who want something like an iPad, but can’t afford that, get something from Coby that does the same basic job. Same with cars. For every Bugatti and Bentley out there, you’ve got hundreds of Buicks and…other cars that begin with B.
The thing about companies is that they exist to make money. I can guarantee you that within five years of rich people getting access to high-level, in-utero genetic engineering, the rest of us will also have access to it. It might not be as quick, as efficient, or as good, but it will exist, and I’m willing to bet that even the poor people of the future will live better, longer, healthier lives and be smarter than the rest of us. I suppose that in theory, the rich could get Congress to pass laws mandating that only they have access to this technology, but…why? What would be the point of that? And, again, companies exist to make money. It is in their interest to sell to as many people as possible.
So really, there just isn’t much to worry about here. Monolithic baby-appearances is a problem that will take care of itself, and the free market will ensure that genetic engineering becomes a reality for pretty much all income levels.