Thursday, January 3, 2008

Post-colonial cliches come to life

The newest development in outsourcing: Indian women renting out their wombs to Westerners:
In a new twist to the outsourcing for which India has become renowned, poor Indian women are renting out their wombs to foreigners. Surrogate motherhood -- carrying to term and giving birth to another woman's baby - once was limited in India to helping close relatives who couldn't complete a pregnancy due to medical difficulties. But leading gynecologist Dr. Kamla Selvaraj says it's now becoming a regular "profession" in India, with more and more women willing to carry babies for others, for a fee.

Women's counselor Harleen Ahluwalia says surrogacy cases are estimated to have nearly doubled in the past three years. "Foreigners find Indian legal procedures easy and less exploitative, unlike [in the] U.S., where any complication could cost a fortune," she said.

While a couple in the U.S. will generally pay tens of thousands of dollars to a surrogate mother and affiliated agencies, in India the cost could be around $5,000, plus medical and attendant costs.

Note the special use of "exploitative" in the second paragraph -- it refers to the fears of the "customers" that they might be liable in case of complications to the surrogate.

You grope for some line about capitalism colonizing the bodies of the poor, but that doesn't seem clever or insightful here. Just ... true.

1 comment:

TONIN mckelvey said...

Are you JW Mason?

Sorry to oddly post a comment here, but I read a Marx article you wrote in August and cannot figure out how to post there, but wanted my comment to get to you :) ...

Hi JW, fellow Marx reader,

Intrigued and ignorant of the finer points of Marx's concept of alienation, I recently digested the first section of the E&P Manuscripts as well. I appreciate your fleshing out, vivifying, the somewhat (disappointingly) dry text! My approach has been to augment critique with a positive account of replacement - and I get a good idea of what that might look like here in your blog (especially with footnote #3). I feel Marx's critique of capitalism (seemingly his main aim) is spot on - but I am inevitably drawn to supporting that, or filling the gaping hole of Political Economy in dehumanized form with a New Way - this is also the challenge of lay people (meaning those unacquainted with Marx) when broaching this topic. So, what's better? Ugh, "unalienated laboring". How is THAT possible?

I have also stumbled upon the problem of societal complexity (both in sheer numbers as well as division of labor/specialization) trying to conjure a society of unalienated mention bathroom cleaning, and the potential types of work that seem to, in every configuration, call up drudgery rather than a fulfilling of one's human being. I - with my group reading the E&P Manuscripts - we, similarly cannot get around the facts of societal organization. Particularly, we always get stuck on colonoscopists and waste removal personnel. Who would freely choose these? How is performing these functions the act of developing of one's human capacities? Large problems, figuring out a hew way of society....

Lastly, I really enjoyed your points (which I did not find reductive) - almost a verification station - of the conditions unalienated labor must meet. Guidelines are good. Please take a moment to read my blog, To Be Employed, geared to the non-Marxist lay person (essentially a Wake Up!) that you may find good reading: