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It is hard to guess how far cloning would change relationships, or whether any changes would be on balance for better or worse.

How would you interpret the part in bold? How would you paraphrase it?
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It is hard to guess how far cloning would change relationships, or whether any changes would be (when finally considered) a progress or a step back
Marius Hancuwhether any changes would be (when finally considered) a progress or a step back

If that were the intended message, shouldn't the original be:

whether any changes would be on balance for the better or the worse.

instead?
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I think "the" doesn't change the meaning here and:

713 on "for the better or the worse"
1940 on "for better or worse" [more popular
 Of course, you can find more examples on 'for better or worse'; it's frequently used as a set phrase and as an adverbial phrase.
 Anybody else?
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I agree in that situation, I would have written "for the better or for the worse."

I also would have set off "in balance" in commas.
The original is 'on balance', not 'in balance.' Does that 'on' also sound unnatural, GG?
Taka It is hard to guess how far cloning would change relationships, or whether any changes would be on balance for better or worse.

How would you interpret the part in bold? How would you paraphrase it?

It is hard to guess how far cloning would change relationships, or whether any changes would, on balance, have a positive or negative impact.
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