Not All Mothers
But nature is not always a match for economics and culture. For example, a poignant study of mothers in a Brazilian shantytown where poverty, malnutrition, and disease kill one in five babies found that mothers have adapted by requiring infants to thrive from the start. Those who do not are expected to die, so mothers “detach” emotionally and allow them to perish. The study’s author concludes that “maternal thinking and practice are socially produced, rather than determined by a psychobiological script of innate or universal emotions.”
“Mother Nature. She is free to do whatever she chooses.” That is the final epiphany of The Rules Do Not Apply. But in the age of fossil fuels, biotechnology, borderless capital and captive labor, and inequality as vast as it has ever been in history, human decisions dole out winter storms and citizenship, wellness along with wealth. Some bodies are assigned lesser value than other bodies. It is we who select Mother Nature’s favored children.
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