> Well, universal care for children frees women to sleep with
> with someone for his desirability, unconcerned with regard
> to his resource base.
Taxation destroys far more in economic productivity than it can ever return to its beneficiaries. Getting money from the government is a negative sum game. I'd much rather live in a freer economy, where I can more easily make my own money.
> You could be poor but if you can come up with cute, funny, strong,
> a good "rating" by the independent panel (:-)) ... you would have
> more women after your buns.
If women were really all that motivated by men's bank accounts, struggling musicians would never get laid while UNIX sys admins would be the new Don Juans. But the opposite is usually true.
In a gushing economy like we have in the United States, the resources that are most important for the health of the children are time, care and attention. Lots of women make more money than their husbands. Money does matter, but it's not the only factor in the resources equation. For many women, it's not a factor at all.
> > Even if the government was giving me tons of money to have babies, I
> > would still have to invest years of personal effort in raising those
> > children.
> In our society yes, but not in certain tribal societies or other
> countries. It always amazes me at the number of single mothers there
> were and to some degree still are in Russia. The communist system
> (for all its faults) in combination with extended families provided
> enough support that single motherhood was not really difficult.
This is an issue of interest to me, as well. But I think that culture and government are different things. I would like to raise my children in a communal culture, but culture exists on a small scale and is voluntary.
But how to create a communal culture? It seems to me that anywhere where the same people have had to live with each other for a long time, preferably people mixed in age, that a communal culture will develop. Many small towns in the US seem to have this type of mutual care, while none of the cities seem to.
> I shouldn't have used the word "managed". And no, I didn't mean to
> imply that the government should subsidize it. Though I expect there
> would be an economic tradeoff between subsidizing prostitutes and
> paying for more police to keep you safe from the over-testosteronized
> males with no sexual outlet...
Being horny - even really, really, really horny and not able to think about anything but women - does not make a man a rapist. If he's not of good conscience, it might impel him to steal money so that he could go to a prostitute. But a man has to be indifferent to or actively enjoy a woman's terror while raping her, and most men find this repugnant.
> Readily available sex only works if it is "safe", it only will be
> "safe" if someone who doesn't have a stake in it is policing it.
> So, presumably you would have the government involved only to
> ensure that the people working in brothels are healthy (just as governments
> now ensure that your restaurant workers don't carry hepatitis).
This can be done privately. Even though she is operating outside the bounds of the law, a good madam will insist that all her girls use condoms and be regularly checked for disease. Her reputation is worth a lot more than government certification. This is more true of "high class" call girls than street prostitutes. But if prostitution were legal, a number of private mechanisms would arise to certify the women disease-free. For example, private certification boards, ID cards from a health clinic, private, voluptuary central databases kept by an independent medical agency, instant disease test kits - one drop of blood from the prostitute, and she's certified clean.
There are also several sites on the web and newsgroups where people share reviews of prostitutes. If someone posts "I got syphilis", it can't be good for business.
The same is functionally true of restaurants - the health inspector comes only once a year, but a restaurant will go out of business if there is an outbreak of food poisoning. So restaurant owners have a big incentive to use sanitary cooking practices. After the Jack in the Box E. Coli outbreaks, the chain spent an extraordinary amount of money on advanced research in sanitary cooking technology to make sure it never happens again. The government didn't require it, but the market did.
If prostitution were legal, someone who'd gotten a disease at "Amsterdam House of Pleasure" could get a story written about it in the paper.
> I'm assuming reproduction is not part of the equation, so that removes
> the classical "pickyness" of does he have a good job, good looks, etc.
> The thing that seems to remain is the unknown of "is this guy likely
> to be a good lover?". The independent panel gives you a way of
> that information being available to you and the Japanese broadcast
> computer gives you a way of determining your proximity.
Ah, you don't need a panel - what you need is collaborative filtering for men. If you like Steve, you'll also like Joe! You could call it slamazon.com, where everyone can post their anonymous comments about performance, and based on the men you've already slept with, it recommends other guys you might like to sleep with.
Will guys really sign up for that? Is there a subset of women who would?
It certainly doesn't sound appealing to me, but I don't think I'm the target audience.
> As pointed out by another reader, your immune system compatibility
> and/or your pheromones sensitivity have a lot do do with your "attraction".
> What isn't clear is the degree to which some of us have lost
> these senses. It isn't "essential" for individual mating per se, but
> desirable from the perspective of the survival of a group.
> [Nature wants to increase the immune system diversity of a species
> to prevent single diseases from wiping out a flock/herd/tribe/etc.]
But isn't it desirable for the individual? Because then the offspring inherit a more diverse set of immunities. New genes are good genes. That's why people are attracted to people with foreign accents.
> I would argue that complete (from the ground-up) engineering of
> a human genome is 10-15 years out (assuming the luddites don't
> get too loud). The problem is that genomes are so complex, that
> it could take you years of education and work (even with a lot of
> computer assistance) to go into each and every detail. Of course
> you can select an "off-the-shelf" package (again prepared by
> a panel of experts), but how much creativity is there in that?
> If you could design a child from "scratch", how much time
> (and/or money) would you devote to creating the "perfect child"?
Me personally? Quite a lot. I actually may just make it in time - I'm 27, so in ten or fifteen years I'll still be able to have children. (Although at that point, the female years of fertility will probably have been extended as well.)
Someday I want to finish my biochemistry degree (I got distracted by this New Economy thing), and I happen to love biohacking, so yes, if I were to pursue such a course, I'd want to do my own research. I have found that it's not too hard to become more informed than my doctors.
But I would have to be convinced that the technology was safer in humans than the risk of disease that the kid will already be running. Genetic engineering in humans will be pretty dangerous for the first generation or so. For example, what if you give your kid *all* the genes known to be associated with intelligence, and find out that in combination they produce schizophrenia?
So in just fifteen years, I don't think I would make more than a few modifications. Nothing really horrible runs in my family, but there are some annoying diseases I'd like to select against, and I'm exceptionally unathletic, so I suppose some athletic genes might be worth the risk. I wouldn't want to go crazy and cram the DNA of every Olympic athlete together, but I think I may have reduced oxygen carrying capacity and I condition extremely slowly compared to the norm. I wouldn't particularly want to pass that on. Of course I'd want to insure that my kids are smart, but that seems like an exceptionally risky area, as it's known that some of the genes for intelligence are associated with schizophrenia. So I'd be very cautious there.
Scary thought: at some point, the DNA of celebrities will become a
valuable commodity, but one that is easily pirated - the code will make
its way into the underground economy as easily as an MP3 file. So a
generation of kids is going to wind up with a disproportionate number that look like the 2015-equivalent of Britney Spears.