Man and Beast
The slippery slope of human-animal hybrids.
Companies are making employees pay for being fat. Methods: 1) "Incentives" that lower your health premiums or deductibles if you stay "fit." 2) Paycheck deductions if you exceed a specified weight-to-height ratio. 3) Cash or goods if you lose weight. In two years, the percentage of executives who think obese employees should pay more for benefits has risen from 48 to 62. Rationales: 1) Fat workers cost companies more in health expenses. 2) Incentives improve fitness. 3) Whether you lose weight or pay more is up to you. Objections: 1) My weight is none of my employer's business. 2) It's wrong to punish people whose weight is biologically beyond their control. 3) It's illegal to discriminate based on health status. (Related columns: fat and food regulation; fat and personal responsibility. To join the discussion, click here.)
Latest Human Nature columns: 1) Fat lies and fat lies revisited. 2) Liberals and bioethics. 3) The case for turning food into fuel. 4) Recombining man and beast. 5) The spread of virgin births. 6) Abolishing menstruation. 7) The chess match of man and machine. 8) Ultrasound and the future of abortion.
Will Saletan covers science, technology, and politics for Slate and says a lot of things that get him in trouble.
Photograph of nun on Slate's home page by Digital Vision.