Friday, July 24, 2009

What's the deal with organ trafficking anyway?

I had a good spat with (R.) Dan and Shmuel over facebook about the uses and disadvantages of organ trafficking. They raise important concerns regarding a persons ability to consent (well, that might be putting words in their mouths), lowering of costs of organs and generally saving people's lives. I worry about people's ability to consent and exploitation of the poor.

If people are 'fairly' compensated for their organs, why shouldn't they be allowed to sell them on the market?


Anonymous said...

Criminalizing the purchase and sale of organs healthy people have marginal need for (kidneys being the obvious example) is a travesty, and unlike most of my opinions, I think it's pretty hard for a reasonable person with most of the facts in front of him to disagree. Thousands of lives are lost every year, and tens of thousands are left on semi-permanent dialysis, for no good reason. There are clear potential abuses - you wouldn't want undocumented organs coming from third-world countries, for instance - but at the end of the day sick people's lives would be saved, some poor healthy people would have an extra source of income, and public health care costs would go down.


(link stolen from Greg Mankiw's blog)


Anonymous said...

Do you know anything about organ sale in Iran (where it is now legal) or India (where it used to be)?


Jose said...

I remember learning at one point that part of the issue here is that you don't own your body in the same way that you own your dog, or your house. If we allow people to trade in organs, are they a reasonable collateral for a loan? If you default on your loan and the bank seizes your assets, can they take that redundant kidney?