THE GLOBALIZATION OF ICK. After my own mind was blown by this "reproductive tourism" business, I got down to some serious thinking. The main engine of globalization is exploiting gaps between average productivity in a given nation (which drives its wage rates) and industry-specific productivity, which drives the potential for employer profits. Countries like India and Pakistan have very large, very unproductive rural economies that keep overall wages quite low. Consequently, you can build a pretty half-assed shoe factory somewhere in Asia where the specific productivity is much less than at a comprable factory in America, offer wages higher than what you can make as a subsistence farmer, and still make a much bigger profit than you could by locating the factory in America. But generally speaking, the ideal thing to do, globalization-wise, is to find economic activity where bringing the productivity of your third world labor force up to something resembling first world standards doesn't require much in the way of new capital investment. The truly best cases for this, however, tend to be things we're ethically unconfortable with -- womb-outsourcing being just one of several possible examples.

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