India Uncut

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

So would you like an IQ enhancement pill?

Brian Mandel writes in Business Week:
Steroids build muscles and physical endurance. Politicians and journalists generally do not rely on muscles and physical endurance to do their jobs. That makes it much easier for the politicos and pundits to be horrified at steroids.

But would we be quite so horrified, I wonder, if we were talking about "smart pills" or memory pills instead of steroids? Suppose that a pharmaceutical company was selling a pill that would improve your memory by 30% or your IQ by 30%, with the same sort of side effects as steroids. Would you be willing to take them for 3 or 5 critical years in your career? What if you knew that everyone else was taking them? What if you knew that the Chinese or the French were taking them?
Hmm. And, more pertinently, what if they had no side effects? Would you still be against them for reasons of fairness? What if they couldn't be detected?

I'd written about similar issues, by and by, in a 23 Yards post on gene doping. That was before I learnt to write non-terribly, and that post/essay is monstrously unwieldy, and shame on me for that.

Of course, I didn't pop those pills of mine in those days.
amit varma, 4:41 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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