Over the past year and a half, as the scale of the global mass surveillance being pursued by the National Security Agency in collaboration with America’s tech giants has become clear, these corporations – Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft – have become objects of derision for Americans and people around the world. Now it seems there is new cause to look upon these firms with suspicion. Over the course of the past few days as news emerged that Apple and Facebook have instituted plans to pay for female employees to freeze their eggs for later use, columnists in other nations have expressed concern that they are blithely playing God with life itself. Worldmeets.US has translated columns from three countries on the subject, all outlining the likely ramifications of these policies:
First, from Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in a column headlined Employee Eggs and the ‘Cold New World’ Order, columnist Reinhard Mueller examines the creepy side of the latest fringe benefit being offered egg-bearing employees of America’s tech giants, wondering what might come next:
“Even if everyone calls it a fad – just a friendly invitation from an employer to please set aside the desire to have children, it makes East Germany’s Family Policy seem almost humane. … The delusional sense of feasibility among corporations knows no bounds, and it’s no coincidence that the Internet giants are at the forefront. In the battle for the supposedly best talent, they conjure up the illusion of being the masters of life – as if there were some guarantee of being able to bring children into the world if one waits ten years. Life as a purchase. Why not do the same for the organs of deserving employees in order to build up a stock of spare parts?”
Then from Le Figaro in a column headlined Apple-Facebook-Google: Egg Freezing Plans Imperil Humanity, philosopher and theologian Bertrand Vergely warns that Apple, Facebook and Google are ‘manipulating life by interfering with the reproduction of the human race’ and in doing so, they ‘are meddling with the future of the whole of humanity.’ He warns that companies like Google are playing God, leading to the ‘dehumanization of man.’
“Over and above the intrusion into the private lives of their employees, I think we need to discuss the manipulation of life itself! Google, for example, currently invests in extensive research into overcoming death. Now they want to interfere with the question of birth. Is there nothing that can resist Google? I want to add that the couple, even life itself, will no longer be able to resist, either. We are observing a stupefying seizure of power by these companies, which are meddling with the future of the whole of humanity.”
Finally, for Switzerland’s News in a column headlined Apple’s Frozen Eggs: ‘Eugenics’ by Any Other Name, columnist and author Regula Stampfli sounds the alarm over the egg-freezing plans of Apple and Facebook, reminding readers that what Apple and Facebook are doing today, the Nazis could only dream of doing. Stampfli writes that just because the private sector rather than the state is practicing eugenics doesn’t make it any less dehumanizing, and that, ‘taking a merely business oriented approach to issues as important as the freezing of human eggs and its defense by science leads directly to political, economic, and civil laws that legitimize (in)human reproduction and a contempt for and destruction of human life.”
“The rhetoric calls to mind the debates about ‘scientific progress’ in the 1930s. Any woman would reject state-sponsored eugenics – God forbid! On the other hand, eugenics practiced by the private sector – yeah! Freezing eggs is a highly political and economic policy decision that affects all people. Or would you – in retrospect – characterize the Nazi race laws as an exclusively private sector issue in line with the era’s understanding of biology, medicine, corporate law and sociology? Anyone who still dares treat medical reproductive technology as an ‘ethical’ or ‘moral’ issue should be referred to the Nuremberg Code used to prosecute members of the German medical community.”
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