PHOENIX INSURGENT: Smarts and wealth: Defending an egalitarian distrubtion of brains
Phoenix Insurgent has some good points in here about the rise of neuroenhancers, or "cogs, though I've never heard that term before. But, I'll have to disagree with him that this will necessarily end up being the sort of thing where the rich end up as the beneficiaries and the poor end up screwed.
This is not to say that the poor will end up with equal access to the drugs or that the rich won't end up using them more and more. It is to say that we have a number of assumption, as a society, when it comes to things like these. The first is that more intelligence is better, specifically, the ability to do well on certain tests and the ability for rote memorization correlate with some sort of "good" in the same way that wealth does. I don't mean to say that intelligence is somehow a bad thing, but I think the normative aspect of what we view as intelligent should be further examined.
Beyond these issues is the fact that we don't know what the side effects, long term, might be from the use of these drugs, and, if history is a guide, they will come into broad use before this issue is resolved. Poor people might in fact be protected from mental health and neurological breakdown as a result of not being able to afford these drugs. I am reminded of my friend from Poland telling me that all their farming was organic, because they couldn't afford to do it otherwise. One must remember that much of these "advances" are only such given the current context, and that context is subject to radical change.