Jon Entine comes from a family of entrepreneurs, so he’s not relying on pensions for financial solvency, “just a shriveled 401(k).” Entine worked as a TV producer for two decades, until covering a story that changed his career: The Body Shop cosmetics empire, he discovered, benefited greatly from a sterling reputation for “corporate social responsibility” that it patently did not deserve. “A lot of companies say that they’re socially responsible or progressive,” he says, “but they don’t walk the talk.” A similar conceit affects pension funds, where such chatter is often “at least as much about hype and vanity as it is about social responsibility.” In “The Next Catastrophe” (page 20), Entine chronicles the ways purportedly socially responsible investing practices are endangering pensions.
Cheryl Miller’s last article for reason was about modern art. In this issue, she writes about ART—Assisted Reproductive Technology, that is—and the privacy issues that come with it (“Who’s Your Daddy,” page 40). “Donor-conceived people are coming of age,” says Miller, who edits the America’s Future Foundation’s Doublethink magazine. “People are beginning to push for more safeguards and more transparency. It’s a lot like adoption. At first all the experts said, ‘Don’t tell!’ But slowly people recognized that not telling could really be hurtful.”
When the unmarried Frenchwoman Guillemette Faure tried to get pregnant in America with medical help, she says, “I was surprised by how easy it was there compared to how taboo it was in France.” Her book on the subject, Un bébé toute seule? (A Baby All Alone?), was published in May. In “Shopping for Fertility Markets” (page 44), she describes how attitudes toward assisted reproduction vary across cultures. Those views, she notes, are in flux. “All the women I interviewed,” Faure says, “told me they overestimated the conservatism of their family or friends.” She likens their evolving views to the way things were for gays 30 years ago. “People disapproved of it,” she says, “and then changed their mind when someone close to them was involved.”