Oct. 9, 2162
OSLO–Foundlings Inc., the Norwegian subsidiary of Fertility Services International, today began offering clients the ability to ensure that their children will make them proud. The company allows parents to select from a roster of LifeStories for their children, including careerpaths, financial success, social popularity, and even political affiliations and voting records.[p]
“Other companies have tried to offer genealogical tailoring, but they have operated on a ‘genetic engineering’ model, selling genetic traits,” explains company VP Ecker Eerin. “But that’s not what our customers care about. Does Little Johnny have blue eyes or brown eyes? I really don’t care. Frankly I find eugenics services like that morally offensive. What I want to know is that Johnny is going to have a happy and fulfilling life. That’s what we give our customers.”
The service works by exploiting detailed biographical profiles of the future lives of yet un-conceived children. Customers fill out descriptions of the lives and lifestyles they would like for their children and company computers search databases of future biographical profiles for matches with the right sort of life and an imminent conception date. Company salespeople then contract with the parents of the child, purchasing rights to the desired child and securing an agreement that they forbear from having a child for a variable period of from 2-3 years. The customer is then fertilized with a prefabricated egg bearing the genetic signature of the desired child.”
“Rather than getting for our clients individual genetic traits they request-traits which are really just a proxy for the success every parent wants for her child-we are in the business of acquiring fulfilling lives for their children,” notes head of research Vender Little. “The ‘traits’ and ‘eugenics’ people have really misjudged the market, forcing parents to make morally repugnant decisions just in the hopes that the ‘traits’ they pick will have positive consequences for their children. They focus narrowly on the ‘nature’ side of the equation, when what parents want is the outcome of a successful ‘nurture.’ By looking into the future and seeing what sort of people these kids will eventually be, we can guarantee that our customers will be proud parents for the lifetime of their children.”
The company’s services, though, are not without their detractors. Economic Justice Front press releases point out that Foundlings’ clients are chiefly the rich, and the ‘successful’ children they buy come almost exclusively from parents of lesser means.
“Parents must make their own value-maximizing decisions,” explains U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust economist Purvis Exel. “For some, that will mean selling the rights to a child destined to rise above her circumstances. But we make those sorts of calculations all of the time. Families need to be able to choose what’s more important, some money now, paid by Foundlings, or the happiness and financial success of the next generation. At the same time, it’s not a zero-sum game. Parents who sell the rights to a ‘successful’ child can still have an even more successful child later on. Nothing prevents that in the individual case. Still, on average, if the service is popular it will tend to ossify class lines, with the poor selling to the rich children whose success would otherwise increase the incidence of class mobility.”
It is no surprise that Antitrust regulators worldwide have taken an interest in the company, as it works in close partnership with Futurefeedforward, the giant research and financial services multi-national who supplies Foundlings with the future biographical profiles on which the service depends. “We’re looking at this closely,” notes Exel. “We want to be sure that Futurefeedforward isn’t using its dominance of the futuredata industry to control other emerging industries.”