I finished reading, Beggars in Spain, by Nancy Kress. I’m not sure how I feel about it. It was well written, and held me enthralled by the issues raised. I’m going to have to stalk this author now, by reading every other book she’s published. This novel is important, but I didn’t realize this going in. It’s a scenario in the near future involving gene manipulation and ethics. The science was believable. It’s not the first novel I’ve read that speculated about the consequences of playing with our genes. It is, however, the first of it’s kind that I feel effectively addressed the ethical considerations. I agree with the conclusory sense you’re given at the end of the novel. It’s sound philosophy.
The writing is exceptional, and concise. It manages to convey a philosophy with parallels to Objectivism, but different, more mature proclamations. It centers on ableism. The societal belief that one’s worth is determined by one’s job. A capitalist inevitability that is heading for what could be an horribly pragmatic or enlightening change. I’m hoping it’s enlightening. I’m hoping the displacement from increased automation will result in broader definitions of contributions to society. There’s so much that can go wrong during this transition, and it’s difficult for me to predict all the possible outcomes. All I can do is continue to create jobs for the people who have the hardest time securing employment. The disabled, the ‘reformed’, the elderly, etc. They in turn create jobs for others, such as veterans who need a gentle transition back into the civilian workforce.
I can’t do anywhere near as much of this as I’d like, but I’m grateful I can do anything at all. I think a large percentage of disabled people can work if we just provide the right job and support. I think working is a human right. While there are always exceptions, I believe feeling useful and productive is something adult humans generally need to be happy and fulfilled in life. I know I miss being a cog in the military machine, because being on a team that powerful is amazing. I’m part of a much smaller team now, but I can’t wait to see it grow.