Monday, November 21, 2011

The Market in Kidneys: A Moral Case




Philosophy professor James Stacey Taylor: "When there's a transplant operation from a living donor into the body of a living recipient, everybody involved in the operation is getting paid: the anesthesiologist, the surgeon, the nurses, the hospital, etc. The only person not getting paid is the person who is actually giving up the most precious commodity of all - the kidney donor.  And I think that's morally wrong."    

56 Comments:

At 11/21/2011 12:47 PM, Blogger spotteddog said...

tru. Same with blood. Why aren't people paid for their blood? There'd be no shortages if the donor was paid.

 
At 11/21/2011 1:33 PM, Blogger truth or consequences said...

Two words...

Morality and money do not belong in ANY sentence together. Period.

His whole argument is built on very shaky ground and uses a "one in a million" example meant to tug at heart strings. The vast majority of potential "transactions" would be for far more sinister/sad reasons.
About that example he used two words: Universal healthcare.


Are we headed for a society where people who have money don't only drive nicer cars but have all their organs plus a couple they bought?

When the "haves" rant about people on welfare their first line is usually: "Get a job!". These same people would probably support the selling of kidneys, eyes, hands, feet....so they could then say: "Sell your kindey, bum!" and dream of getting rid of welfare and the concept of a social safety net altogether.

Can anyone imagine a person that would be so far down on his luck, destitute enough and desperate enough that he would consider selling a part of his body because it would be, to him, his only option left?

If there was a "market" for organs can we imagine a family putting grannies liver and eyes on Ebay to pay for her funeral costs...or maybe a new SUV?

Two words: Soylent Green

 
At 11/21/2011 1:39 PM, Blogger Comparative Disadvantage said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/21/2011 1:46 PM, Blogger Comparative Disadvantage said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/21/2011 1:51 PM, Blogger Comparative Disadvantage said...

"Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself." Milton Friedman

The above post (truth or consequences) provides evidence of the validity of Friedman's quote. In his post, truth or consequences alludes to a likely "sinister" set of reasons for the vast majority of such organ transactions. For some reason, what is okay to do for emotional compensation, is unacceptable to do for monetary compensation.

In other words, the type of person that opposes organ transactions because he or she dislikes the results is simply a person who dislikes freedom.

 
At 11/21/2011 2:13 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Health care and free enterprise do present some conundrums.

Should we let even an irresponsible oaf--the guy who did not buy health care--die after an auto accident at age 35?

Selling body parts? But not selling temporary use of your genitals?

How about selling babies? Why should not a young couple, good-looking, put up their baby to highest bidder?

 
At 11/21/2011 2:34 PM, Blogger truth or consequences said...

You got it CD...

gee, first I had to battle MORALITY...now I'm up against FREEDOM! What's next motherhood and puppies?

Our freedoms are curtailed everyday...killing, speeding, smoking indoors...for a variety of reasons. At some point in time you could kill whoever you wished, in another time you could speed to your heart's content...even smoke inside. Do you think we should reinstate those freedoms?

"For some reason, what is okay to do for emotional compensation, is unacceptable to do for monetary compensation." Not so much unacceptable as not desirable...
Just for fun, look at what money has done for sport in general a general sense.

I suppose if FREEDOM is right all the time, and free markets rule everything.... you don't have a problem with a pro sports player getting paid to throw a game.

 
At 11/21/2011 3:17 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Contra: "Organ Gangs Force Poor to Sell Kidneys"

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-01/organ-gangs-force-poor-to-sell-kidneys-for-desperate-israelis.html

 
At 11/21/2011 3:44 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

t or c-

i think you are going way of the rails here into some distopian vision.

your notion that morality and money do not belong together is absurd.

money is just a store of value. why can it not be included in morality.

being free to sell your labor as a house painter is both moral and monetary. you can offer a service in exchange for cash. if a buyer likes your offer, they say yes. how does money make that in any way contrary to freedom or morality?

regarding kidneys, let's start from first principles here.

you can chose to pierce your own ear. no one else can make you as a free adult do it. why? it's YOUR ear.

you can sell blood. you can sell sperm.

so why is it suddenly not yours to sell if it is an organ?

whose kidney is it? the states? how do you justify such totalitarian seizure of your innards? it's difficult to imagine anything that is more yours than your insides.

it seems to me that your doctrine is based on fantasy and a belief in lack of choice.

let's say you are poor and have a child that needs expensive heart surgery or he will die. are you claiming it's immoral to sell a kidney to pay for it? on what grounds?

you equate allowing the sale of organs with oppression. nothing could be less true. no one makes you do it. it's a choice, a possible option. you act as though giving people an additional option takes away their freedom. such a premise is absurd.

nor would a market for cash pay kidneys eliminate a market for donated ones. you can still be an organ donor (where most transplants come from) there will still be wait lists and free organs.

taking a purely utilitarian view, a cash market will result in MORE kidneys being available and save more lives. this seems like a good thing, not the evil you imagine.

mutually agreed upon transactions are, by definition, mutually beneficial. else why do it?

your notions of "sell a kidney bum" are way off the point. if i am destitute and allowed to sell i kidney, i don't have to. i can go on doing just what i do now. i am no worse off, i just have another option.

your rant on freedom misses the point yet further.

freedom and liberty are not the same. freedom to kill comes with a terrible price: the freedom of everyone else to kill you.

we get more liberty by giving up that freedom and not having to live in fear, carry weapons, and hire guards.

to equate that with taking away the right to do with your innards as you see fit is ridiculous.

if you believe in rights, it's easy to see why killing and theft violate them. thus, laws against them increase liberty.

but who does a law against selling your organs protect? who do you harm by selling a kidney? not even yourself, for it you felt the loss of a kidney was more harmful than the cash was beneficial, you wouldn't do it.

you sound like every other would be dictator claiming that individuals cannot be trusted with freedom because they might do something you don't like.

try extending your logic to any other sphere and its inherent absurdity becomes readily apparent.

how is selling your dead relatives kidney any different than selling their car? both were their property and left to you.

i really see no way to square any sort of even rudimentary notion of property rights with a prohibition against selling what can only be described as most unassailable your possession.

claiming it might create crime is a flimsy argument. so does selling knives, guns, and charging money for food. shall we ban all those as well?

if you are going to ban any activity or object that might lead to crime, we will soon all find ourselves in straightjackets in padded rooms for our own safety and that of others.

 
At 11/21/2011 3:50 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

a further thought on the freedom to kill:

you are free to kill right now. you can walk outside and do it. if you try to kill me, then i will try to kill you first. if i fail, the police/society will then either do it for me, or remove you from society as they do not want to live around people who murder.

freedom has consequences. just because to do not like the trade off of what will happen if you use your freedom does not mean you do not have it.

freedom is not the ability to do things absent consequences.

you speak as thought there was some point when one could kill absent consequence. perhaps the consequence was not being hauled before the law, but you could be shunned, killed in return, maimed, whatever. if your killing someone made a third party angry, well you certainly can't complain if they try to treat you as you treated another.

the definition of "free" you are using is bogus, hence, so are your conclusions.

 
At 11/21/2011 4:30 PM, Blogger truth or consequences said...

interesting points Morgy....

that's twice now that my motive for being against "cash for kidneys" is that I don't "like" it. Again it's not that I don't like it or would not do it myself and therefore I don't think anybody should... it is that I don't think it's desirable for society... as in "we've come a long way, baby"...so let's not start going backwards now.

For the record I don't "like" rock climbing and don't do it myself but I don't object to others doing it.

If your organs are your "property" and there is a market for them then they are assets, no? Fast forward a few years and now you've got a court case where a guy owes a bunch of money to a company and that company is seeking a court order to get that guys kidney for payment of the overdue debt....or maybe his heart, he could get by with one of them new artificial ones after all...

"if you believe in rights, it's easy to see why killing and theft violate them. thus, laws against them increase liberty." How about that guy in court? How's his liberty today?

Opening doors..."just to open doors" (ideology) without carefully considering what is on the other side can be problematic. Experience shows that closing them is not an option.

Take wholesale gambling in every state and province in NA?? Do you think the personal and societal costs of that idea are worth the amusement value some find in it? Is anybody/everybody better off because of it? Does anybody really "win". IMO it's a tax on the poor and makes for much misery. We'd be better off without it but it's too late now.

Soylent Green

 
At 11/21/2011 5:15 PM, Blogger David said...

tru. Same with blood. Why aren't people paid for their blood? There'd be no shortages if the donor was paid.

In Freakonomics, the authors refer to a study indicating that paying people for blood results in less blood collected. Not sure how sound the research was, but interesting to think about.

 
At 11/21/2011 8:28 PM, Blogger Aiken_Bob said...

It is interesting to me that concepts like this gets folks that would normally be on the same side of increasing liberty/freedom going at each other's throat. This is one of those issues that will have to age awhile until someone can make it easy to understand the consequences, or we will be taken over by events. My gut reaction is that it is my Kidney and if I want to sell it, so much the better.

 
At 11/21/2011 9:08 PM, Blogger truth or consequences said...

A.B. I wasn't aware that anybody was "going at each others(proud of me M.P.?;):):))throats"...just yakkin'...

"My gut reaction is that it is my Kidney and if I want to sell it, so much the better." as I said previuosly what if somebody decides to press for his rights and legally take that asset from you....you still think it's "so much the better"??

Soylent Green

 
At 11/22/2011 12:12 AM, Blogger randian said...

Should we let even an irresponsible oaf--the guy who did not buy health care--die after an auto accident at age 35?

If somebody gets into an auto accident and their car is trashed, and they can't afford a replacement so they would likely lose their job, are we obligated to give them a car?

Basically, if he can't pay for it himself and there is nobody willing to pony up the money (insurer, charity, rich person, etc), yes we should. What makes accidents different from any other personal obligation?

Why should not a young couple, good-looking, put up their baby to highest bidder?

Yes, why shouldn't they? Adoption is already legal. I don't see how the introduction of money changes the morality of giving away your child. As it is now, like with organ transplants, everybody gets paid but the parents.

As for the confused person who thinks organ donation = soylent green, your vacuous moral grandstanding convinces nobody. What you suggest won't happen for the same reason that food is exempt in every state from seizure for debts. There's a line our law considers repugnant for creditors to cross.

 
At 11/22/2011 7:07 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from truth or consequences: "Again it's not that I don't like it or would not do it myself and therefore I don't think anybody should... it is that I don't think it's desirable for society... as in "we've come a long way, baby"...so let's not start going backwards now."

It doesn't matter how you word it or re-word it. It's the same thing. You think you should own other people's bodies by dictating what they can or can't do with them and you're willing to use the coercion and force of the state to make that happen.

 
At 11/22/2011 11:13 AM, Blogger truth or consequences said...

"As for the confused person... your vacuous moral grandstanding convinces nobody."

Typical, if you can't make a rational argument supporting your point, you attack the speaker and/or assign to him a motive that is a product of your own imagination.

I've already said morality has nothing to do with it.

"There's a line our law considers repugnant for creditors to cross." Well, thank Allah for that!;)

It appears that your law considers "cash for kidneys" to be on the other side of that same line...for now.

Hard to imagine any politician stepping forward and proposing to change that.

 
At 11/22/2011 11:36 AM, Blogger randian said...

I've already said morality has nothing to do with it.

This is an inherently moral subject. You cannot evade that by proclamation.

It appears that your law

Where are you from?

 
At 11/22/2011 11:36 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

t or c-

"If your organs are your "property" and there is a market for them then they are assets, no? Fast forward a few years and now you've got a court case where a guy owes a bunch of money to a company and that company is seeking a court order to get that guys kidney for payment of the overdue debt....or maybe his heart, he could get by with one of them new artificial ones after all..."

that is just ludicrous grandstanding and ignores the law entire.

first off, you could declare BK. second, you can already sell blood, so it's an "asset" as you describe it and i have never heard of a debt collector demanding blood.

you are just being apocalyptic and absurd because you are unable to respond to this simple question:

what could be more your property that your own organs?

if they are your property, why can you not do with them as you please?

you can sell you hair for wigs or your blood to a blood bank, but somehow a kidney is different?

what underlying system of logic can you use to defend this?

none.

you are just making emotional appeals to absurd legal scenarios because the basic foundation of your belief set is inconsistent and illogical.

geo has it exactly right. you wish to use the coercive power of the state to take away individual freedom and deny rights to the most inalienably personal of property. like all fascists/despots, you claim it is "for their own good" because the poor benighted populace is too dimwitted to handle freedom and so you trot out a menagerie of imaginary bugbears to frighten, but you have no logic nor morality underpinning your arguments.

they boil down to "i like X outcome, and will happily trample on your rights to get it in a manner that would be clearly absurd applied to any other kind of property".

that's the weak rationalization of a would be dictator, not a principled argument of morality.

 
At 11/22/2011 11:41 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

david-

regarding the freakonomics argument, it's essentially a cognitive dissonance argument.

he showed similar things about charging for kids left late at daycare actually increasing the number left late.

i think it's irrelevant to organ markets though.

people give blood because they feel good about it. if you pay them, they fell less good and are more likely to treat it like low paid work.

this is not so of organs. nobody just donates a kidney and says "give it to whomever". they either come from relatives or friends or from dead organ donors.

neither of those contributors is affected by price. you give it to your brother out of love, or, in death, cannot attribute a work script to it.

it seems very doubtful to me that a cash market would reduce supply.

 
At 11/22/2011 12:02 PM, Blogger David said...

Agreed, morganovich, studies pertaining to blood donations would be irrelevant in a kidney donations discussion. I was just addressing spotteddog's comment, which I think is incorrect.

 
At 11/22/2011 12:57 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"if you believe in rights, it's easy to see why killing and theft violate them. thus, laws against them increase liberty." How about that guy in court? How's his liberty today?"

this is an absurd argument.

rights are a compact. you respect others, and they respect yours.

you exercised your freedom to steal.

doing so puts you outside the compact.

thus, the other appoint a court to take away the freedom you misuse.

this really could not be more simple.

it astounds me that you are struggling with it.

it sounds again like you want freedom without consequence.

sorry, but that's the ideology of a spoiled 4 years old.

 
At 11/22/2011 1:05 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

finally, arguments about democratically imposed limits are irrelevant.

the whole point of rights is that they CANNOT be taken away be popular opinion. that's the whole point.

no matter how abhorrent i find your views, i cannot get together with 51% of the electorate and ban your right to speech.

i cannot get together with them and vote ourselves the contents of you bank account to spend on a keg party either or vote ourselves the right to camp out in your living room.

to argue that it is OK for 51% to tell you what to do with your own body parts is every bit as contrary to your inalienable rights as 51% telling you you cannot speak your mind.

 
At 11/22/2011 1:05 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Morality and money do not belong in ANY sentence together. Period.

That is certainly the authoritarian position. But it has basis in logic. Money is just a medium of exchange. When a person trades his kidney for care for a child, the ability to get a better education, save his house, or whatever else he values more than the kidney the only question is a simple one that deals with ownership of one's body. If you own your own body the decisions is yours to make. If you don't then you are a slave and it is somewhat hypocritical to bring morality into the picture.

 
At 11/22/2011 1:17 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

How about instead make the case for cloning organs? Cleaner, and it sidesteps the issue by removing the need to involve a less-than-willing person.


what could be more your property that your own organs?

There is no prohibition on donating them, and there are prohibitions against taking them without consent. Allowing the sale of organs would only add harmful incentives to medical care while ignoring other valid solutions to finding organs.

Allowing the sale of organs would rip through informed consent of donors as much as it allows doctors to violate the Hippocratic Oath of doing no harm.

 
At 11/22/2011 1:19 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


people give blood because they feel good about it. if you pay them, they fell less good and are more likely to treat it like low paid work.

Unlike organs, the body has a well-refreshed supply of blood. A pint here, a pint there, and you're not going to miss it. Organs might be able to be repaired, but not replaced in whole.

 
At 11/22/2011 1:24 PM, Blogger randian said...

i cannot get together with them and vote ourselves the contents of you bank account to spend on a keg party

But we already do that, since there's no moral difference between your keg party and redistributive taxation. Both involve voting to steal the contents of somebody else's bank account.

 
At 11/22/2011 1:31 PM, Blogger randian said...

Allowing the sale of organs would only add harmful incentives to medical care

What harmful incentives are you talking about? Are you seriously suggesting doctors will deliberately hurt patients in order to harvest their organs?

Allowing the sale of organs would rip through informed consent of donors as much as it allows doctors to violate the Hippocratic Oath of doing no harm.

Rip through informed consent how? Are you suggesting doctors will tell you they're doing one thing, then steal your organs?

If you consent, it isn't harm.

 
At 11/22/2011 1:55 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

TC: "Morality and money do not belong in ANY sentence together. Period. "

In 2008 4573 people died of kidney failure due to lack of a donor. This is moral.

A person can donate a kidney without compensation. This is moral.

Providing a financial incentive to donors. This is immoral.

Check the reference Steve provided about forced kidney donations. Do you understand that this horror couldn't have happened if people could legally sell kidneys?

It's not clear that you understand the meaning of the word "moral".

 
At 11/22/2011 1:59 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

TC: "Two words: Soylent Green"

Are you familiar with the story? Do you understand that neither free choice nor financial transactions were involved?

 
At 11/22/2011 2:05 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Benji: "How about selling babies? Why should not a young couple, good-looking, put up their baby to highest bidder?"

It's not clear why you think "good looking" or "young" are necessary qualifiers, but it should be obvious that someone who is willing to sell their baby values it less than someone who is willing to buy it, so the baby would likely be better off with the buyers.

 
At 11/22/2011 2:20 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

How about instead make the case for cloning organs? Cleaner, and it sidesteps the issue by removing the need to involve a less-than-willing person.

When organs can be cloned and transplanted effectively I would be happy to argue in favour of cloning. But we live in the present and have to deal with conditions as they are.


"what could be more your property that your own organs?"

There is no prohibition on donating them, and there are prohibitions against taking them without consent. Allowing the sale of organs would only add harmful incentives to medical care while ignoring other valid solutions to finding organs.


If something is your property you can sell it if you wish. End of story. What if the government told you that you are free to 'donate' your house but could not sell it. Would it really be your property under such conditions?

Allowing the sale of organs would rip through informed consent of donors as much as it allows doctors to violate the Hippocratic Oath of doing no harm.

The doctor has no say in what people choose to do with their kidneys because the kidneys do not belong to the doctors. They only come into play when there are issues that require that both kidneys be retained. Given the fact that such people could not find a market for their defective kidneys that argument is moot.

 
At 11/22/2011 2:25 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Are you familiar with the story? Do you understand that neither free choice nor financial transactions were involved?

Of course not. Being familiar with facts gets in the way of making irrational statements.

 
At 11/22/2011 2:26 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Benji: "How about selling babies? Why should not a young couple, good-looking, put up their baby to highest bidder?"

Babies are now owned Benji. Parents only own the right to look after them.

 
At 11/22/2011 3:06 PM, Blogger randian said...

Babies are now owned Benji. Parents only own the right to look after them.

I assume you meant "not owned".

In any case, can you explain the moral difference between giving away your baby for free and giving it away for cash?

 
At 11/22/2011 3:09 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

TC: "If your organs are your "property" and there is a market for them then they are assets, no? Fast forward a few years and now you've got a court case where a guy owes a bunch of money to a company and that company is seeking a court order to get that guys kidney for payment of the overdue debt....or maybe his heart, he could get by with one of them new artificial ones after all..."

This is a nonsense argument. Please familiarize with the concept of self ownership. A claim to parts of a person are no more valid than a claim to the whole person. From a concept of self ownership, you can develop every other property right.

 
At 11/22/2011 3:17 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


When organs can be cloned and transplanted effectively I would be happy to argue in favour of cloning. But we live in the present and have to deal with conditions as they are.


My point is that instead of removing barriers to the sale of organs, remove the moral barriers to doing the necessary research.

When you can remake a fully matching kidney as easily as one can build a house, you might have an effective argument. Until then, you're trying to put value to an object that has none.

 
At 11/22/2011 3:39 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Speaking of selling babies, Reason TV made a fantastic video on what happened in Guatemala when they banned private adoption and instituted a centralized adoption system adhering to UN rules, supposedly because foreigners were "buying" adoptions by paying middlemen to help with the process. It's kind of a marginal issue but Reason manages in this video to crystallize a perfect example of what happens when the govt takes over a formerly private market, including highlighting an amazingly sharp nun who ran an orphanage and comments on the whole situation. I recommend it highly.

 
At 11/22/2011 4:00 PM, Blogger randian said...

Until then, you're trying to put value to an object that has none.

Organs have no value? Since when?

 
At 11/22/2011 8:31 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I assume you meant "not owned".

In any case, can you explain the moral difference between giving away your baby for free and giving it away for cash?


Yes, I did mean not owned.

You cannot give away or sell your baby because it does not belong to you. All you can do is give up or sell your right to look after that baby. Whoever gets those rights has the same obligations to that baby as you do.

My point is that instead of removing barriers to the sale of organs, remove the moral barriers to doing the necessary research.

There are no moral barriers to doing research on cloning organs.

When you can remake a fully matching kidney as easily as one can build a house, you might have an effective argument. Until then, you're trying to put value to an object that has none.

That is why I ignore the cloning line of argument. It is not possible at this time. That means that we should be dealing with what is relevant and possible now.

 
At 11/22/2011 8:33 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Organs have no value? Since when?

I think that he meant cloned kidneys. They have no value at this time because they are not possible.

 
At 11/22/2011 8:44 PM, Blogger randian said...

You cannot give away or sell your baby because it does not belong to you.

When did adoption become illegal? What's the difference between "giving away your baby" and adoption?

All you can do is give up or sell your right to look after that baby.

Sheer sophistry. There is no meaningful difference between selling the baby, and selling the rights and obligations the baby comes with.

You still haven't explained why it's immoral for the transferring parents to end up in a net higher cash position after the adoption.

 
At 11/22/2011 9:00 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

When did adoption become illegal? What's the difference between "giving away your baby" and adoption?

The baby is not your property. The privilege to look after the baby is the property right that is in question. When you send the baby for adoption it does not become the property of the people who adopt it. They only get the right to look after it that you held before them.

I don't think that the issue can be explained simpler than that.

Sheer sophistry. There is no meaningful difference between selling the baby, and selling the rights and obligations the baby comes with.

Sure there is. If the baby is property it can be sold into slavery, starved, or killed without penalty because as property it has no rights.

This is a very simple argument based on sound principle. I have no idea why you can't follow it.

You still haven't explained why it's immoral for the transferring parents to end up in a net higher cash position after the adoption.

Did I ever say that it was immoral? I am sorry but I don't recall trying to make that argument.

 
At 11/23/2011 1:27 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Randian: "Sheer sophistry. There is no meaningful difference between selling the baby, and selling the rights and obligations the baby comes with."

Wait, would you disagree with Locke that "every man has a Property in his own Person."?

If babies can be owned and sold, their parents, or current owners could own them all their lives. Do you see a problem with that?

 
At 11/23/2011 2:53 AM, Blogger randian said...

If babies can be owned and sold, their parents, or current owners could own them all their lives.

That's a huge leap of logic. Babies are not adults, and we need not treat them as adults. In any case, except for a lack of cash changing hands an adoption is indistinguishable from a sale. The joys and burdens of "ownership" are irrevocably transferred from one party to another, and there are no lemon laws in case the kid turns out to be medically fubared or an axe murderer.

I say again: what is the moral difference between giving a baby away with no net change in your cash position, and giving away a baby with a net positive change in your cash position? it seems to me that once you've accepted the premise that adoption is morally acceptable, you have no case to decide that a baby can be adopted only if the parent's motives (including pecuniary ones) are acceptable to you.

 
At 11/23/2011 4:09 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

randian: "That's a huge leap of logic. Babies are not adults, and we need not treat them as adults."

Of course not, but are they people, and can we say that parents "own" their children? If so, at what age would that ownership cease, and how would ownership be transferred from parent to child?

Some interesting thoughts here. About the tenth paragraph begins discussing children who are already born. Rothbard sees a parents status as that of a trustee.

"In any case, except for a lack of cash changing hands an adoption is indistinguishable from a sale."

That's correct. Please note that I'm all in favor of money changing hands in every case involving a transfer of property rights, whether it involves kidneys, children, or anything else. My quibble is with the extent of parents property rights as regards their children.

As I wrote previously, I suspect that children are better off with parents willing to "buy" them, than with parents willing to "sell" them or give them away.

 
At 11/23/2011 8:54 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

That's a huge leap of logic. Babies are not adults, and we need not treat them as adults. In any case, except for a lack of cash changing hands an adoption is indistinguishable from a sale. The joys and burdens of "ownership" are irrevocably transferred from one party to another, and there are no lemon laws in case the kid turns out to be medically fubared or an axe murderer.

But it is not 'ownership' because babies are not property. I think that you need to read Ron's reference because Rothbard (I also recommend Block on this issue) makes the point better than I could.

I say again: what is the moral difference between giving a baby away with no net change in your cash position, and giving away a baby with a net positive change in your cash position? it seems to me that once you've accepted the premise that adoption is morally acceptable, you have no case to decide that a baby can be adopted only if the parent's motives (including pecuniary ones) are acceptable to you.

Who is arguing that it is less moral to give up one's rights for cash? The issue is not the cash but the treatment of the baby as property. The baby is not the property. But the right to look after it is.

 
At 11/23/2011 9:50 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Allowing the sale of organs would only add harmful incentives to medical care while ignoring other valid solutions to finding organs."

what complete tripe.

does the market for used cars "only add harmful incentives" to steal cars?

no.

it allows lots of people to raise money and get cars.

sure, we could make it harder to sell stolen cars by banning the used car market, but that's killing a mosquito with a flame thrower.

a cash market for kidneys would, first and foremost, provide those in need with potential supply and those with 2 kidneys the option to sell one.

you then rant on about all the bad things that will happen. this is because you do not believe in freedom.

free speeech causes bad things to happen to. people like you are allowed to say things like that last comment and we are all dumber for it.

but that's freedom for you. not every outcome will be great. but overall, the general welfare is promoted.

once we start making it illegal for you to be so stupid, well, then we have empowered some federal arbiter of stupid, and who knows what they will decide later.

we start by silencing you, then wind up unable to criticize global warming research or welfare policy.

your ideas about property are just the same. surely you would not argue that i do not own my kidneys. but you want the ability to tell me what to do with it?

what business is that of yours?

i could sell a knife to a mugger too. that's a bad outcome. shall we ban knife sales?

 
At 11/23/2011 3:14 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

I think the problem people like truthorcon have with selling babies is that they know that not all sales will be beneficial, for example, some crackhead selling her kid into slavery. Like morganovich says, they then weigh the benefit of stopping such sales, particularly since the baby is in no position to decide for itself, as much greater than the benefits of all the kids who go to better families. That requires a cost-benefit calculation, which to be honest they do not do because the crackhead scenario scares them so much and they respond irrationally.

It's similar to the video I linked above, where Guatemalans were so concerned about foreigners adopting their babies that they condemn them to a much worse life in their "native" orphanages. The same "selling babies" logic applies to all these other scenarios for people like truthorcon, because they essentially view poor or desperate people as babies or only marginally better, incapable of making these choices for themselves.

Babies are an interesting corner case, because they exist somewhere in the spectrum between property and humans. For example, I'm fine with late abortions and would be okay even if the baby was killed by the parents after birth, as I don't view that as human, but obviously others differ. Another interesting one is pets, as many view them like "babies," hence all the vitriol for Michael Vick.

 
At 11/23/2011 3:46 PM, Blogger randian said...

not all sales will be beneficial, for example, some crackhead selling her kid into slavery

You can't sell a baby into slavery, since it's incapable of performing labor. Anybody worrying about that isn't thinking (in the US anyway, Muslim countries are another matter).

It isn't illegal to do an adoption of a teenager, so far as I know, even if the child objects. Since some kinds of child labor are illegal (like slavery) I'm not sure what to do here. The adoption itself is legal, and there's no way to police the motives of the parties involved.

 
At 11/23/2011 6:40 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Um, there's a lot of different kinds of slavery, randian. The rumor was that Sandusky was pimping out his adopted kids. No idea if that's true or just a figment of somebody's imagination, but there are some sick people out there and they obviously aren't limited to Muslims or Catholics. You seem to be saying child labor should be illegal, whereas I don't think that law's necessary either. Stossel had a nice segment talking about child labor laws recently. As for teenagers, they can usually decide for themselves, so I don't think that's the issue here, except for paternalists like truthorcon of course.

 
At 11/24/2011 10:38 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

It's similar to the video I linked above, where Guatemalans were so concerned about foreigners adopting their babies that they condemn them to a much worse life in their "native" orphanages. The same "selling babies" logic applies to all these other scenarios for people like truthorcon, because they essentially view poor or desperate people as babies or only marginally better, incapable of making these choices for themselves.

Their babies? Doesn't the right to look after a baby belong to the parents? How do 'they' look after the babies that 'they' prevented from being adopted?

 
At 11/24/2011 10:40 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Um, there's a lot of different kinds of slavery, randian. The rumor was that Sandusky was pimping out his adopted kids. No idea if that's true or just a figment of somebody's imagination, but there are some sick people out there and they obviously aren't limited to Muslims or Catholics.

But there are laws against parents pimping out kids who are dependent on them. Your argument has nothing to do with the right to sell the right to look after a child.

 
At 11/24/2011 3:07 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Vange, if you actually knew how to read, you'd know that I said they "look" after the babies in orphanages that are "a much worse life." Laws about adoption or selling babies have everything to do with child labor or abuse laws, because it is easier to enforce the former than the latter. If you could have stopped Sandusky from adopting in the first place, you wouldn't be too late to stop him now. I don't think we should have any law against selling babies or child labor, but people like truthorcon use such extreme cases to rationalize such dumb laws.

 
At 11/25/2011 12:18 PM, Blogger Cristy at Living Donor 101 dot com said...

Professor James Stacey Taylor knows very little about the US transplant industry if he thinks the lack of compensation is the biggest 'moral' problem facing LDs.

According to OPTN 4.4 LKDs die each year within 12 months of surgery. Healthy people who underwent a needless procedure for someone else's treatment.

20% of LKDs experience physical complications: hernia, chylous ascites, adrenal dysfunction, pancreatitis, nerve damage, chronic pain, testicular swelling and sensitivity, etc.

40% of live liver donors suffer from physical complications as well.

20-30% of LDs suffer from depression, anxiety, anger, PTSD or other psychosocial difficulties. Not a single transplant center offers aftercare or support services.

No one bothered collecting any identifying info (social security number) on living donors until 1994. We have NO INFORMATION on forty years of LDs.

There are NO national standards of evaluation, selection, treatment or follow-up for LDs. Each program makes up their own rules. A joint societies consensus document from 2011 stated that there is no clinical evidence of the best way to evaluate a living donor to minimize mortality and harm. Nearly 60 yrs after the first LKD transplant and they haven't bothered to determine that.

In 2000, the Sec of Health mandated transplant ctrs to report one-year (two yrs as of 2006) of LD follow-up. In 2009, OPTN's own data task force concluded the database to be 'woefully inadequate' and 'useless for research or analysis'. More than a decade later, 40% of living donors are reported 'lost' by one-year and not a single transplant program has been penalized for non-compliance.

We have NO LONG-TERM DATA on living donors' health and well-being. But we do know that reduced renal function means a higher lifetime risk of hypertension, cardiac disease and death, and kidney disease and death. Are prospective kidney donors told of this risk?



Every study from every country (including Iran) with a legal or illegal organ market has determined that the system is beneficial to surgeons, recipients, and the govt, but highly detrimental to the living donor/vendor.

The vendor/donor experienced a higher rate of physical complications, greater financial difficulties, increased psychosocial issues, and a reduced quality of life. More can be learned here: http://tinyurl.com/3qluktd

Organ markets are a lazy. Transplants are treatments, not cures. How many healthy people should be sacrificed for one recipient?

The biggest kidney killer in the US is diabetes. It would be much more cost-efficient and effective to concentrate on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diabetes. This would greatly reduce the demand for kidneys, and cut down on the costs ascribed to Medicare for the treatment of folks with end-stage renal disease.

It's also important to know that the average onset of end-stage renal disease in the US is 64.4 years old (USRDS). Should the taxpayer (via Medicare) be paying for an 84 yr old to receive a transplant?

Please educate yourself about the reality of the US transplant industry before advocating something is only possible in theory.

 
At 11/25/2011 10:37 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Cristy, you raise a good point about the medical risks. Having been through the medical system myself, I can attest to the appalling way it is run. However, your point about the risks doesn't invalidate the argument about payment, if anything, it means the donors should get paid much more. You suggest we should go after diabetes instead, but to my knowledge there is no known way to avoid that, though you can try to mitigate some risk factors, like not getting fat if you have the genetic predisposition. Of course the taxpayer shouldn't be paying for kidney transplants for 80 year-olds, because there should be no Medicare. :) But that's a whole different issue to the narrow issue of whether kidney donors should be paid.

 

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