Three months after this milk bank was started, Su-bin and Min-jun found that their mission of preparing medicines from human milk was being defeated by profit-making ventures of the hospitals and the allied pharmaceutical companies. The women in the society had an ingrained aversion to the idea of milk donation; this couldn’t even be discussed among people because of local taboos.
The hospital had to offer a lucrative price so that women from poor families were lured to sell their milk for extra income for the family; even women from middle-class families soon followed suit. But the hospital’s price of selling the milk from their bank was substantially high—around $100 per litre—and most patients couldn’t afford to buy this milk, which was much dearer than other available medicines. Some considered getting wet nurses at $100 per 30-hour week instead of buying milk from the milk bank.
The hospital invested in milking machinery so that incumbent women could be automatically milked without any human intervention. This machinery reduced the running cost substantially but they needed to recoup the investment cost as soon as possible. They started a show of women being milked by machines. The hospital managed to get permission from the local government for this show on the grounds that similar shows had been already permitted in some milk plants, where people can freely view the milking of cows.
Somehow it wasn’t considered that women were members of the society—taxpayers with voting rights. Some taxpayers would find special pleasures in seeing their fellow female taxpayers milked and the taxpayers, getting milked, would be adequately rewarded; so it was a win-win situation for all taxpayers involved.
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