March 1971

The Biocrats.

Author Affiliations



By Gerald Leach. Price, 35 shillings. Pp 317. Jonathan Cape Ltd, 30 Bedford Sq, London WC1, 1970.

Arch Surg. 1971;102(3):236-237. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1971.01350030074027

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Time and again society has woken up to find itself living with a major biomedical trend that it has never agreed to but which is now very hard to alter. The technocrats of biology and medicine—the biocrats—had taken charge.

With these and other challenging words the author of this book jumps with both feet into a description of the social and economic problems that the discoveries of modern science, medicine included, are posing for us to solve.

A list of the chapter titles: Birth Control, Population Control, Test-Tube Reproduction, Breeding for Quality, Breeding out Faults, Fetal Medicine, Birth Defects, Brains, Life on the Machine, Transplants, and Priorities, seems over-ambitious. But documentation is extensive and informed. Here one can find relative statistics on abortion (whether "therapeutic," "criminal," or "artificial") in various countries and a systematic discussion of the methods (both "benefit" and "restrictive") that have been proposed for promoting the acceptance

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