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In the world I envision here, some countries take a much less fundamentalist stance on human rights (maybe a more extreme version of China) than we generally take for granted.

For the purpose of geopolitical (economic, military, human capital generally) power, what experiments or extended scientific programs would such a nation try to run if they still insist on obtaining consent of experimental subjects themselves (so no children)?

Obvious things would be something like genetic engineering or certain drugs with untested side effects which stand to increase intelligence or any other desirable, but what other experiments would likely have a high impact?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by L.Dutch, Aify, Ash, Renan, Mark Olson Jul 15 '18 at 12:24

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding, qeschaton, could please clear up what you mean by geopolitical value and how human research might contribute to it? Do you mean international economic value? Or the glory of achieving a spectacular scientific result? What sort of high impact do you have in mind? $\endgroup$ – a4android Jul 15 '18 at 7:28
  • $\begingroup$ I think if you leave out question 2 (perhaps do it in another topic if you thought this one went well) you've got yourself an interesting question. What sort of experiments could a nation run that people would volunteer for that are for example illegal in the EU or the US? Btw, you have to be more specific on that last point, several real countries could be considered "more extreme" than China, please define a good reference. Also perhaps exclude the classic: You can kill me, but for that my family has money. $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jul 15 '18 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ PS: I think this one is very important: Consider dropping the "purpose" point. It doesn't really make sense on many levels. a) If we knew what experiments would give e.g. economic power, we wouldn't need to do them. It's a paradox you've got there. b) No experiment is that powerful. c) The limiting factor is and always will be money. I'm glad that you didn't include a point saying "money is irrelevant" because that means you are potentially a good world builder. There are pretty extreme places and they don't seem to do experiments with just humans that give them power or they would have power $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jul 15 '18 at 11:32
  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking more along the lines of scientific programs rather than isolated experiments. So a, b) I don't really think so. I would expect that there are many gains to be had from being able to actually do more medicine prototyping on actual people, or from checking to what extent we can interfere with child development. c) The US and EU are pretty conservative in terms of what kinds of experiments they allow, and the problem isn't money but morals. There are many experiments (or programs) you could run if you could actually find (well-paid) volunteers for them. $\endgroup$ – qeschaton Jul 15 '18 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ Check out Germany under the NAZI party, or North Korea. $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Jul 15 '18 at 13:05