Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception (2006)
Despite legislation that claims to prohibit it, a thriving market for babies is spreading across the globe. Fueled by rapid advances in reproductive medicine and the desperate desires of millions of would-be parents, the acquisition of children–whether through donated eggs, rented wombs, or cross-border adoption–has become a multibillion dollar industry that has left science, law, ethics, and commerce deeply at odds. In The Baby Business, Debora Spar argues that it is time to acknowledge the commercial truth about reproduction and to establish a standard that governs its transactions. The first purely commercial look at an industry that deals in humanity’s most intimate issues, this book challenges us to consider the financial promise and ethical perils we’ll face as the baby business moves inevitably forward.
Ruling the Waves: From the Compass to the Internet, a History of Business and Politics Along the Technological Frontier (2003)
Beginning with the development of the compass, Ruling the Waves examines a series of technological revolutions that promised, in their time, to transform the world’s politics and business. Debora Spar recounts the histories of the printing press and maps; of the telegraph, radio, and satellite television; of software, encryption, and the advent of digital music. At each of these junctures Spar suggests that invention led to both a wave of commerce and of chaos. A fascinating history of business, Ruling the Waves is also an original, thought-provoking analysis of the parallels between past innovations and inventions and our own tumultuous times.
The Cooperative Edge: The Internal Politics of International Cartels (1994)
Why does international cooperation work for some enterprises and not for others? And what distinguishes the few that succeed from the majority that fail? Debora Spar finds answers to these questions when she examines the workings of four commodity cartels, having interviewed and secured documents from mid-level and senior players in the global markets for diamonds, uranium, gold, and silver. Spar suggests that certain kinds of states will be better equipped than others to resolve the dilemmas of cooperation. In her concluding chapter she points out the characteristics that mark these “cooperative” states, explores the internal trade-offs that are often entailed in international cooperation, and proposes a series of tactics that states can employ to gain and maintain the cooperative edge.