Friday, April 29, 2011

More from the Cult of High Expectations

I have already commented several times on the refusal of Americans to believe that there are actual technical problems in the world. If we don't have electric cars, or highly efficient fuel cells, or high speed trains, or cheap solar power, it is because corporations or the government are refusing for nefarious reasons to give us these things. For Ann Friedman, the lack of effective, side effect-free birth control is obviously the result of a pharmaceutical plot:
A 2004 survey found that 20 percent of women were not satisfied with the contraceptive method they were using. . . . Are pharmaceutical companies so busy inventing illnesses and wooing doctors that they can't bother to invest in R&D for a product for which 99 percent of American women are potential consumers—not to mention the rest of the world? Have social conservatives made birth control so controversial that even the most forward-thinking university researcher can't find funding for this research and even the most profit-thirsty CEO doesn't want to go through the FDA approval process?
To which one of Andrew Sullivan's readers responded:
I have a theory for why the pill hasn't evolved, for why birth control isn't getting better: Manipulating human biology actually isn't a very easy to do without side effects. Especially when it involves the manipulation of hormones. I bet Barry Bonds would have liked to hit 73 home runs in a season with regularly-sized testicles. I bet Uncle Al wishes his cholesterol pill was better, too: why can't he eat his bacon and his hamburgers with diminished risk of heart disease AND without nauseau and diarrhea?

A better pill would be a goldmine for pharmaceutical companies. If there is one to be had, it will be created. Just don't hold your breath.
Controlling human reproduction without screwing up the rest of the body is just HARD. This is a technical problem, not a conspiracy.

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