A provocative, cautionary exploration of the onrushing revolution in health care: its science-fiction benefits, its hidden dangers, and the disturbing choices it will force us all to make. The mapping of the human genome and other biological breakthroughs will have startling practical implications for every one of us. In the past, the physician's art has been devoted to making sick people well. The medicine of the future will be far better at curing illness, but it will also be increasingly dedicated to making well people better-sexier, happier, prettier, smarter-and to generating incredible profits for its practitioners and their corporate sponsors. Some fruits of the new genetic medicine will be unmixed blessings; others imply a chilling redefinition of what it means to be human. And all will impose enormous costs on society. Social and economic inequality will worsen as the medical haves outperform, outcompete, and outlive the have-nots. The profit imperative will foster ever-costlier biological upgrades in place of safer, simpler, natural alternatives.
Through patents and commercialization of research, a handful of corporations will come to control huge swaths of the human genome. And health care costs will continue to grow.The Terrible Gift is an essential primer to the crucial choices we already face as both citizens and consumers of health care.
About Rick J. Carlson
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Published April 1, 2002
Education & Reference, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Health, Fitness & Dieting.