Sunday, December 20, 2009

The end of repugnance?

A striking NYT article ("Building a Baby, with Few Ground Rules," 13 Dec.) gives sense of the legal and ethical conundrums surrounding "gestational surrogacy" in the US. The first couple of paragraphs, describing how a woman was able to order a set of twins using information she obtained over the internet, really made me cringe. This, I hope, is the normal human reaction behind the exclusion of certain transactions from the market economy - what economists call "repugnant markets." A court did rule in one case involving surrogacy that "there are, in a civilized society, some things that money cannot buy." Which begs the question: for how much longer?