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Monday, January 4, 2016

If you’re willing to buy a kidney, you’re willing to exploit the poor

Washington Post | Opinion | Scott Carney

(IStock)

Each week, In Theory takes on a big idea in the news and explores it from a range of perspectives. This week we’re talking about government compensation for organ donors.

Scott Carney is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and author of “The Red Market: On the Trail of the World’s Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers and Child Traffickers.”

What would happen if the United States legalized the sale of human organs? Economists will note the seductive market logic: With regulation, proponents of legalization suggest the organ shortage will disappear, the market will arrive at a fair price for human tissue and new laws will regulate away criminal elements.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume that the United States would be able to create its own equitable system. What would happen in the rest of the world? Whether we like it or not, we live in the era of globalization, and if the U.S. legalizes the market for body parts, there is no reason to think that international economies won’t play a role in how a patient decides to procure transplant organs. Continue reading

 

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