Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Our Future: Billionaire Blood Banks

Elizabeth Bathory was born into the royal line of Hungary, her father was a baron and her cousin become King of Poland. Upon marrying Count Ferenc Nadasdy achieved the title or countess. She was the more important in the marriage so she kept her maiden name and her husband added Bathory to his surname.

She believed that she could stay youthful and beautiful by bathing in the blood on young virgins. Because she was extremely rich and powerful she was able to act on those beliefs. Countess Bathory would gather young women, the children of starving peasants from the countryside surrounding her Transylvanian castle. She would bring the girls into her household as servants where she would torture and murder the girls after which she would have other servants, and future victims, bathe her in the girls blood.

I bring up that 16th century story because of a brief news story from yesterday. Elderly mice, when injected with the blood of baby mice, are invigorated and behave as if they were much younger. Scientists are, of course, thrilled at the discovery and predict that some time in the future transfusions of young blood could cure ailments of elderly humans. I see a more terrifying near future.
Billionaire Blood Bank
There are a number of amoral billionaires in our modern world - Donald Sterling, the Koch Brothers, quite a few Saudi princes, Vlad Putin and other Russian oligarchs - who are rapidly aging and cannot wait for scientists to develop ethical protocols for using youthful blood to treat the elderly. I expect they will want to develop their own, private supplies of young blood. I foresee billionaires setting up third world orphanages where, in exchange for better lives than they had on the street, young children would be blood taps for their rich sponsors.

We already see this in the black market trade in human organs. In 1999, American billionaire Richard DeVos received the healthy heart of a British woman for the cost of only £60,000. In Mexico there is a thriving criminal trade in kidnapping children to harvest their organs for the American market. Right-wing theorists continually lobby for the total legalization of the human body part market (the Chicago could sell pork bellies along side of human liver futures).

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