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Medicine The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

Nobel Prize Winning Economist: Legalize Sale of Human Organs 518

Posted by timothy
from the adults-making-choices dept.
retroworks writes "Dr. Gary Becker (University of Chicago) and Julio Elias (Universidad CEMA, Argentina) wrote a thought-provoking editorial in last week's WSJ, arguing that the prohibition on voluntary sale and trade of human organs is probably killing people. In 2012, 95,000 American men, women and children were on the waiting list for new kidneys. Yet only about 16,500 kidney transplant operations were performed that year. 'The altruistic giving of organs might decline with an open market, since the incentive to give organs to a relative, friend or anyone else would be weaker when organs are readily available to buy. On the other hand, the altruistic giving of money to those in need of organs could increase to help them pay for the cost of organ transplants.' Paying for organs would lead to more transplants, the article maintains. 'Initially, a market in the purchase and sale of organs would seem strange, and many might continue to consider that market "repugnant." Over time, however, the sale of organs would grow to be accepted, just as the voluntary military now has widespread support.'"
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Nobel Prize Winning Economist: Legalize Sale of Human Organs

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  • by icndvl (1091207) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @10:33AM (#46005067)
    The biggest reason why there is an organ supply problem is that there is no incentive for people to give up their own organs. The solution is to create a donor list: if you are on the list you will receive organs before none donors in the event you need one; if you are not on the list then that is your right, but its unethical to expect to receive an organ when you yourself are unwilling to donate. This respects freedom to choose, but it also respects that organs are not completely free; if everyone was willing to give their organs, there wouldn't be a supply issue.
  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @10:50AM (#46005187)

    The solution is to create a donor list

    Actually, this solves nothing. The vast majority of people will never need an organ replaced, and it is something they just don't think about. Most people are non-donors because it is an opt-in system, and they haven't made the effort to check the box. A far better solution is to make donating the default, and require people to check the box to opt-out.

    Another solution would be to repeal motorcycle helmet laws. Most motorcyclists are young and healthy, and death by a good clean head injury often leaves plenty of other organs intact and available for donation.

  • by novium (1680776) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:07PM (#46005775)

    Kind of off topic here, but the past tense there is sadly inappropriate. Prison labor is still pretty common especially in the south.. They're even having prisoners do labor for corporations. That way, the big companies get all the savings of using unfree labor in china, but they get to do it at home, so they can stick a "made in america" label on it.

    And the prisons are still full of people who are guilty of being black. Then there's the whole extraordinarily depressing school-to-jail thing. (including a judge in Pennsylvania who was taking bribes to ship kids off to juvie and....well, this http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/11/school_prison_pipeline_meridian.html [colorlines.com] where kids end up incarcerated for things like talking back to teachers.

  • by davester666 (731373) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:05PM (#46006731) Journal

    Yeah, here in Canada, it is basically a hint.

    After you die, they have to ask the people who show up at the hospital for you [presumably your family] whether they want to donate your organs [so, they have to ask the family at one of the most traumatic times of lives if it is OK to dice up their wife, brother, child].

    Not only is the default to NOT donate organs, there is no legal way for you to select being an organ donor, because your choice is only legally binding while you are alive, once you are declared dead, you become the property of your next of kin.

    But even the default of opt-out is stupid, giving in to a small religious minority who would be highly motivated to fill in whatever paperwork that would be necessary to manually opt-out.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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