This is capitalism gone mad

China‘s come a long way from its Cultural Revolution days…

There’s a brand new, ultra-creepy fad in China: adults drinking human breast milk – fresh from the source. According to the South China Morning Post, “Increasing numbers of adults have been hiring wet nurses so they can consume breast milk for its nutritional value”. It’s technically illegal, but the newspaper seems to be convinced that its a roaring trade. The Post interviews the manager of Xinxinyu Household Service Company, Lin Jun, who tells them:

“Clients can choose to consume breast milk directly through breastfeeding … but they can always drink it from a breast pump if they feel uncomfortable.” … He claimed breast milk was now popular among adults with high incomes and high-pressure jobs and who suffered from poor health. “Quite a few of our clients hire in-house wet nurses to ensure a supply of fresh breast milk on a daily base,” Lin said in the report, adding “wet nurses rarely raise objections as long as the price is right.”

I have two responses to this story. On the one hand, it’s revolting. Everything about this scenario should appal the reader, from the very idea of an adult suckling from another adult to the possibility that someone should be so desperate for money that they have to sell their services in this manner. It’s every bit as wrong as prostitution.

On the other hand, it’s perfectly logical. It’s amazing how China has gone from the most oppressively orthodox communist country in the world to the most aggressively and shamelessly capitalist. Consumerism and materialism are certainly not unique to China, but its free market revolution has allowed some ruthless people to exploit others. When you take the profit motive and strip it of old-fashioned concepts like shame or natural law, it becomes rational in the minds of nihilists to treat the human body as yet another product to packaged, priced up and put on the market. If a society is prepared to employ people for a dollar a day, work them near to death and provide little in the way of health and safety regulation, why not exploit their human reproductive systems, too? If China’s oligarchs treat their people like cattle, that’s exactly where capitalism without morality ends. Don’t be surprised if rich Chinese businessmen start wearing clothes taken from the hair of the poor, or jewelry made from fingers. Perhaps an amputated foot as a doorstop?

The South China Morning Post quotes an anonymous source saying, “Consuming human breast milk is quite popular among my social circle … spending 10,000 to 20,000 yuan hiring a wet nurse is not uncommon at all … although only a few people would suck breast milk directly from a wet nurses’ nipples.”

The world’s reached a pretty poor state when a rich man can request breast milk on his cornflakes. As species go, we’re a sick bunch of bunnies alright.

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