Wednesday, November 17, 2004

There's a Market for Everything

I sent my intro to microeconomics students the following link as an example of markets and how markets spread to everything.

In considering markets, Karl Marx foresaw the effects of gobalization as markets spread across the globe like wildfire. In speaking of the growth of markets and capitalism, Marx asserted that the

[C]onstant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned… (Marx and Engels, 1848, 1983).

Speaking of markets...

Today BioMom ordered sperm off of the Internet.

I wonder what my students would think about that.

In deciding which donor to use, we narrowed it down based on a few obvious criteria as well as the desire for a healthy mix of genomes. It is a bit awkward, however, given the limited number of "banks" providing the service. Some friends of ours, for example, casually mentioned that their donor was an economist. Being an economist myself, I had noticed the economist (not surprisingly given the demographic, they, apparently, had similar criteria in mind in choosing their donor). Aside from not wanting potentially two economists in the family (imagine the dinner table conversation!), we wouldn't want to choose the same donor as our friends.

What a strange world we live in.

When thinking about this subject, its hard not to get existential. Of course, many heterosexual couples use sperm banks in their attempt to conceive, but its hard not to personally address that nagging question:

Is this natural?

Of course, natural is a subjective term but its hard not to wonder what the creator (God, Abba, Budda, Mohammed, whoever) had in mind when he/she created couples that cannot procreate. Is that some sort of sign? Are we using science toward a productive and appropriate end? Do the ends justify the means?

I give BioMom the green flag on choosing the actual donor (out of our Final Four). Today she employed the opinions of a coworker in making her final decision.

Coworker: If you can have Brad Pitt [apparently one donor was described as looking like the famous actor] its a no brainer!!!

Let's hope Brad's swimmers survived the long winter.

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