Sunday, May 08, 2005

Ingenious condom usage

This is amazing:
Only a quarter of condoms made in India are used for sex, most of the others are used to make saris, toys and bathroom slippers, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

The condoms are valuable to manufacturers because of the lubricant on them. Sari weavers place the condoms on their thread spools and the lubricant on the prophylactics is rubbed off on the thread, making it move faster through their sewing machines, the newspaper quoted an Indian industry official as saying.

Sari makers also turn the condom's inside out, place them on their fingers and use the high-quality lubricant to polish gold and silver threads used in the traditional Indian women's outfits. India manufactures more than 1 billion condoms annually to check population growth and curb the spread of HIV/AIDS.
My first thought was that I can't imagine that using condoms is cheaper than just buying a vat of lubricant, but then I figured that they must get them really cheap because the government gives them out for free. I guess it's an unintended government subsidy for textile manufacturers, but it's not a bad side effect for a policy that surely has much greater benefits (prevent AIDS, unwanted pregnancies, etc.)...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Andrew,
I remember reading--I think it was in a Tangled Bank entry-- that in Africa mosquito nets intended to prevent the spread of malaria were also being put to all sorts of uses. The story then went into very unfamiliar territory for me- that the World Bank wanted to sell the nets (for a pittance by Western standards), rather than give them away, which would increase the perceived value of the nets. 

Posted by gaw3

5/10/2005 08:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting! Selling them for a pittance does make some sense, but you would always worry about those people who really are so poor that 5 cents would be more worthwhile spent on food or whatever than on a mosquito net. In cases of very cost-effective interventions like condoms and mosquito nets, I think we can afford to err on the safe side and hand them out for free, even if a lot of them get "wasted." (Still, it's always a matter of trade-offs and cost-benefit analysis...) 

Posted by Andrew

5/10/2005 07:22:00 PM  
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Well that's stupid actually how it's possible that people don't use condom knowing the risk that represents for health...

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