David R. Henderson  

The Moral Case for Allowing Kidney Sales

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This is just out. I like the point Professor Taylor makes near the end about how virtually everyone involved in the transplanting of a kidney from one person to another is paid except the person who gives up a precious part of his/her body. (Of course, the recipient is not paid but that's for obvious reasons: that person benefits big time.) Not only that, but some of the people--I have in mind the doctors--are often paid very well. The restriction on sale is, in effect, a price control of zero.

I've written on this here, here, and here.

By the way, I'm an advisor to something called LifeSharers. It's a creative response to the restriction on selling kidneys and other body parts. The idea is to give people an incentive to give up their body parts on death by having them qualify, by joining, to get other people's body parts if they need them in the future.

Here's what clinical ethicist and member of LifeSharers Katrina A. Bramstedt says:

Signing up for organ donation is a social contract. In the case of organ scarcity it is appropriate to favor fellow organ donors over free riders. When it is time to allocate a scarce resource, it is fair to assign priority to people who are willing to both give and receive.

Notice that, unlike all those other phony social contracts (how do I not remember signing?), this really is a social contract.

I highly recommend joining.


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COMMENTS (5 to date)
PrometheeFeu writes:

Thanks for the link to LifeSharers. That seems like a really good idea. I think I'll sign up.

Steve Z writes:

I am not an organ donor, because I fear that doctors will have less of an incentive to save my life if they think my organs could do more good elsewhere. However, I'd gladly sign up to be an organ donor if I could be assured that that information would be private until I died.

Daniel Klein writes:

Very nice.

In EJW we had a piece on economists' judgments, which preponderantly favor liberalization.

Bootvis writes:

@Steve Z

I'm not a doctor but I believe your approach has one important problem:

The doctors have to make preparations while your still alive, so they need to know beforehand.

Furthermore there is an incentive to save lives because otherwise there would be no new organ donors. If they are harvesting organs this would show up in the statistics, does anyone know whether these are calculated?

Jay writes:

LifeShares sounds like a program that should be included in ObamaCare and shoved down our throats with a mandate. You HAVE to donate your organs when you die (if they can be properly harvested).

If you don't comply Obama will send the UC-Davis campus police, armed with pepper spray, after you.

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