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Life as surplus : biotechnology and capitalism in the neoliberal era

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Cooper (sociology and social policy, University of Australia) takes a new approach to questions that, so far, cannot be resolved. She points out that one of the reasons for our difficulty in making up our individual and collective minds on bioethical issues is that we do not fully consider the social, political and economic contexts in which we are operating, and asserts that the rise of economic neoliberalism as a political force and economic policy should be factored into every current question about bioethics. As she traces some of the main issues, she compares the resulting and often contradictory relations amongst scientific, economic, political and social forces that start with utopian aspirations of free-market capitalism. The result is a fascinating study of speculative impulses that serve as the foundation of increasingly commercialized life sciences. Annotation c2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Melinda Cooper is a research fellow with the Centre for Biomedicine and Society, Kings College London.

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