The marxist literary lens focuses mainly on social and economic class and structure. In this passage in the novel, some interesting things are revealed in the professor's discussion, as we are now seeing Gilead from an outside point of view. First, the professor discusses why Gilead started, and why it was so successful in the beginning (Offred's story takes place near the beginning as she is part of the "first wave of women recruited for reproductive purposes" - page 286). It started with a shift in the economy. In a world where birthrates were plummeting, fertile women became extremely important. Women became a commodity, and men in the higher class were able to "pick and choose among them" (286); men are now the buyers. With men of the upper class now completely controlling the economy, and women becoming a commodity, the imbalance of power begins and the social classes become more apparent.
The professor also discusses a similar situation in Romania that was dealt with in a completely different way. "Romania, for instance, had anticipated Gilead in the eighties by banning all forms of birth control, imposing compulsory pregnancy tests on the female population, and linking promotion and wage increases to fertility." (page 287). Once again, infertility finds itself at the centre of the economy. Economic structure is changed throughout the country, as we can see with wages being changed with fertility. The approach is different, and the result is different (although there is not much information given). With wages increasing relative to fertility, women are being paid to be more fertile rather than being paid for, for being more fertile. In this case, there will be less of an imbalance between classes, as the women are not considered a commodity, as they are in Gilead.
Social structure and class is directly related to the economy. In this passage, the professor discusses two different ways of dealing with the infertility issue, from an economic point of view. We are able to compare the results of both, and in doing so we are able to see just how much the economy relates to class structure. Two different ways of dealing with the same issue lead to two very different outcomes, one of complete social imbalance, and the other with a much less significant change in the social structure.