During WWI, at the Battle of Belleau Wood, Gunnery Sargeant Dan Daly urged his troops on to battle by screaming out the now immortal phrase, "Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?" ”Early Exit,” by Daisy Ginsberg, a proposed “Genetic Micro-economy” is part of a project called,” The Future of Money” that is being underwritten by Intel and undertaken by MA students at the Design Interactions department of the Royal College of Art. "The Future of Money" asks some interesting questions about what forms currency could take in the future. “ Early Exit” begs the same question as Sargeant Daly, albeit in a altogether different manner.
In her statement Ms. Ginsberg asks the question:
“Would you trade Alzheimer's for breast augmentation or a luxury cruise?
With an ageing population and an overextended NHS, you may find yourself alone, geriatric and diseased in your home, discovering new forms of "Care in the Community", ordering your food by rescanning barcodes on empty tins of spam and using a webcam to be diagnosed by your GP.
So why not choose a cash windfall and a shorter life? Post Credit Crunch, Genetic Credit has given us unprecedented purchasing power. Gamble on your risky future, and opt for Early Exit: you can eliminate the risk of inherited disease and receive a refund for all the expenses you would have run up.
Your life might be enhanced – but at what cost?”
Your one remaining asset isn't worth much as elements or harvestables, but as live tissue, you're worth $45,000,000, with your DNA banking in at $9,700,000
This may seem like a very bizarre reality, but is it so strange? Everyday people take risks that could have enormous impacts on their future well being in order to achieve wealth and beauty with no guarantee of a payoff. We spend countless hours at the office working our lives away, take part in dangerous procedures to improve our looks, or even risk incarceration or death by taking part in illegal acts in order to get a little cash. So, given these facts, would it be so strange to simply sell a portion of our expected life in order to guarantee a better now?
Ms. Ginsberg’s proposal is, in my opinion, the embodiment and commodification of a well known unpleasantry; life offers us no guarantees. While it is unfortunate, taking into consideration overpopulation, humans, when looked upon as a commodity, have less and less individual value. This is a brutal conversation but no more brutal than being uninsured and terminally ill and not being able to afford your next treatment, and knowing that you have little chance of ever escaping your fate. Is this idea of "Early Exit" inhuman, or is it the human condition, put into hard economic terms.