Thursday, September 11, 2014

Incentives and the Preferred Breeder Status Program

Try this: it's 2208, 3/4 of the world's population is openly gay, and birth rates are way down. It becomes more and more expensive for society to sustain itself, as skilled technicians are so hard to find for the stem cell plants necessary for both medical treatment for the living and reproduction. As the years pass, food development technicians, medical robotics maintenance professionals, and even security guards at that one plant that makes the little plastic cup-thingies that can help either sex intubate a desired offspring in either an artificial or natural womb--huge labor shortages everywhere, and it's really bugging people. You can get a permit to have a child, but it's so incredibly expensive, now, to get the intubation done, to get the drugs and cells you need to bring a child through to term, and then even if it manages to make it out, it costs way too much to feed it, because it's this useless, helpless little thing for so many years, and food is already too expensive for working adults due to high demand.

So the United Earth Government comes up with a controversial new plan: to save society, UEG proposes enacting the "Preferred Breeder Status Program," whereby a couple composed of a woman who possesses a genetic womb (whose parents didn't elect to have it removed upon birth) and who wishes to acquire sperm naturally, and a man who possesses functional genetic testicles, will be given a large governmental subsidy. To encourage more couples to sign up for the program, program recipients will be known as "Preferred Breeders," and will be eligible for all sorts of future government benefits. The hope is, for the UEG agency that initially developed the program, that enough people might naturally breed in such a comparatively "costless" way, that more skilled workers could be grown cheaply enough that, after twenty years or so, all the old factories would begin running again.

There's a catch, though: in order to ensure that the "natural" child develops the necessary independence, confidence, video-viewing comprehension, and critical thinking skills to be able to debug programming code at food and hydrolization plants, or to run intubation machines or repair and update medical robotics systems, and to prevent further cost burdens for the already overstressed UEG planetwide "Children Are Our Future" raising and educational warehouses, Preferred Breeders will be required to guarantee to the government that at least one of the natural parents will manually tend to the child's needs prior to pubescence. PB couples will be prevented from rendering their "natural" offspring to these raising warehouses along with normal children. Preferred Breeders will not, therefore, both be able to pursue successful and fulfilling careers--only one of them. As a result, the Preferred Breeder who elects to work outside the home will be ineligible to avoid supporting the other Preferred Breeder, who has forsaken career opportunities to fulfill the law's requirement that at least one natural parent will stay, cheaply and efficiently, with the kid until pubescence.

The PBSP's critics say that the program places an unfair tax burden on those who are only trying to enjoy their own lives. "I don't have to pay for my neighbor's reproduction bill when he goes to the hospital to drop another one," says one aging woman in San Andreas, "so why should I have to pay for some complete stranger to, to hump some woman just so he can have this little version of himself?"

The PBSP's proponents say that it is the only way to save society. However distasteful natural breeding is, they say, they cite statistics showing that the economics of natural reproduction are over 600% more efficient than the current standard, and demonstrating that all reproduction factories will have to shut down by the year 2224, if changes are not made now.

So, it's 2208. Are you for or against the PBSP? Why or why not?

2 comments:

  1. Lol, did you stop beating your mother in the morning?

    It won't come to that, because by that time we are all going to be close to immortal, so no need for new kids.

    "Children of men" was a pretty decent movie. Anyhow, I am increasingly convinced that high technical civilization is just inherently bad and futile - it is just bound to go in circles, seeking technical solutions to problems created by previous technical solutions to problems that were never technical.

    No, thanks.

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  2. This reminds me a bit of Atwood's Handmaid's Tale. Needless to say, I am rather fond of the formula for natural breeding, so I'll take it. The problem however, is that the Gov is going to create a huge imbalance of power and great deal of resentment between those in the preferred breeding program and those who come from a reproduction factory.

    Also, anytime the Gov steps in with incentives, they tend to produce unintended consequences. As much as I like the PBSP, it wouldn't surprise me if their support for it, completely eradicated it.

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