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Public Health and Private WealthStem Cells, Surrogates, and Other Strategic Bodies$
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Sarah Hodges and Mohan Rao

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199463374

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463374.001.0001

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The Globalization of Reproduction in India

The Globalization of Reproduction in India

From Population Control to Surrogacy

(p.167) 7 The Globalization of Reproduction in India
Public Health and Private Wealth

Mohan Rao

Oxford University Press

In this wide-ranging essay, the author traces the making and re-making of the fertility of India’s poor over the past few centuries: from the problem of so-called overpopulation to the ‘solution’ of surrogacy. Within a political economy of health approach, this essay first describes how nineteenth century overpopulation theories dovetailed with India’s surplus being sucked into Britain’s empire. It goes on to show how nineteenth and twentieth century eugenic arguments became intertwined with those of the idea of a surplus population and the resulting family planning goals that skewed India’s health care services. It concludes by setting the emergence of India’s high-tech medicine in the context of its pursuit of neo-liberal economics over the past three decades. All three ideas and practices mesh in what has become a global surrogacy industry with India as its major hub. In short, this chapter shows how India’s thriving surrogacy industry that aims to give life to a few particular people is premised on at least two centuries’ influential theories and powerful practices—population, eugenics, and neo-liberalism—that ‘recycle’ the problem of the poor into the resources of the rich.

Keywords:   political economy of reproduction, surrogacy, India, global health markets, population, eugenics, family planning

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