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Taking Clones Seriously

That might be, but I could find points for the opposite as easily. After all, we are expecting the child to help save the world. If a child is to become someone of exceptional importance, then probably some sort of special treatment can help tutor them into that role. Take the Dalai Lama: he's raised into his role since birth.

The bonds of family and community: Poverty and cruelty among Russian peasants in the late 19th century

There's a thin middle ground between imposing your values and meanings on another culture's customs, and thinking a culture hold all the keys on interpreting their own customs (positively, of course). There is as much disregard for reality in both cases. For an obvious example of the latter in Semyonova's report, the babies who were euthanised soon after birth failed to get any benefit from their culture. Where is their happiness?

I agree that we should start by acknoweledging the complexity of human cultures. But we shouldn't stop there. We shouldn't use "complexity" as a thought-terminating cliché. Not that I accuse you of doing so, but I wanted to make that point clear.

The bonds of family and community: Poverty and cruelty among Russian peasants in the late 19th century

When I was younger I was quite interested by Lloyd deMause's psychohistory, a fringe theory of history that draws causal connections from chilrearing to culture. Regardless of the theory, in those works you can find chilling accounts of child mistreatment in various cultures, among which this one would fit right in.

Use Tools For What They're For

My bad, I rewatched the documentary and it's actually less clear. The two swiss labs Novartis and Roche, who respectively commercialize Lucentis and Avastin in Europe (undistinguishable treatments both created by Genetech, an American lab bought back by Roche - also, Novartis owns 33.33% of Roche), tried a legal action against France. I assume it was to outlaw the use of Avastin in the eyes. But it eventually failed. However, in the meantime, the habit had taken root to use Lucentis to cure AMD. It's not explained exactly why. The interviewed person says "the difficulty nowadays for the healthcare system, is that they set up a system that is so complex for eye doctors to manage that in the end, everyone gave up." I interpret that as "it's possible, but there's so much red tape that it's impractical". I will correct my original comment.

Use Tools For What They're For

I find it misleading to call drugs tools. It is not uncommon to find unexpected uses for drugs.

Here is an example I just saw in a documentary last week:

Avastin, a treatment for certain types of cancer, was found out to cure AMD very cost-efficiently. Novartis was so miffed that they successfully lobbied for forbidding using Avastin in AMD cases, then they repackaged it into Lucentis and now they sell it at 40 times Avastin's price. It's the same product, but doctors are forbidden to use the cancer treatment to cure people's eyes. (Correction: Novartis and Roche tried to have the use of Avastin in AMD cases outlawed in France, but failed. Still, doctors are discouraged from doing that by the complexity of administrative procedures, and presently the overwhelming majority of case are treated with Lucentis.)

Likewise, Pfizer and Merck and all the rest of these big pharmaceutical companies designed their vaccines and drugs to fight COVID-19, and gathered lots of flagship-quality evidence to bolster their claimed success. Nobody with serious standing challenges these claims.

If they are so confident that their vaccines are stellar successes, why did they specify in their contracts with European governments that they could not be held liable for side effects?

Book summary: Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids

I find it misleading that what Caplan calls "variations in parenting" would actually mean "switching from a high stress/ high pressure version of normal middle class parenting to a low stress version of normal middle class parenting". You oppose that very limited definition on the one hand, and "extreme changes in how the child is treated" on the other hand, but there are many third options. Homeschooling, for example. Or raising a child in the countryside as opposed to a crowded city. I have nothing against the limited version of Caplan's argument, but I'm concerned readers might be misled into updating towards a bigger version of the argument.

They don't make 'em like they used to

I'm not convinced there was/is a preference for tearing down ugly buildings rather than pretty ones in Europe. A lot of buildings were torn down during the 2 World Wars and many other wars before, and combatants don't choose their targets based on aesthetic preferences.

Also, keeping old buildings pretty requires special effort and expense. Old buildings age, due to erosion, vegetal invasion (you wouldn't believe what damage plants are capable of doing), temperature change (especially when water infiltrated in the joints freezes), pollution, vandalism, terrain instability, etc. Europe has pretty old buildings because it cares about and is willing to invest in pretty old buildings, it's not something that falls into your lap after a dozen centuries.

They don't make 'em like they used to

My understanding is that old cars were made of stronger materials that deform less on impact. As a result, it was the content of the car who deformed on impact. The new cars are made less resistant so that the users have better chances to survive an impact. This is a definite progress (and a good excuse for making non-durable cars). In 1999 the new trend was already started. Try a 1960' or 1980' car.

They don't make 'em like they used to

I don't think the reason for planned obsolescence is that it saves expenses designing products this way. Sometimes, they design appliance so that a small part breaks after a specific time (not too long after the warranty expires). This requires special effort.

I think the problem, for the manufacturer, of making durable products is that you're succeeding your way out of business. If consumer's needs are met for the decades to come, then there's no need to make more products. We live in an economy were it's not products that are made to meet consumer's needs, but consumer's needs that are shaped (through marketing) to meet production. That's the definition of a consumer society I was taught: growth is driven by consumption.

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