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Money or your Life - human organ transplants

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Individual Assignment Workshop 2 By: Gerard Bergsma Instructor: Jan Henk van der Werff Money or your Life Due to the ever-accelerating progress in medical science and especially the possibility of human organ transplants a demand in human organs has been created. In 1968 all U.S. States had accepted a variation of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act of 1968. This law allowed individuals to donate part or all of their body after they died. This Act did not allow nor prohibited the sale of human organs. In the early 1980's it appeared that organs where collected in return for a fee. Most of these transactions concerned poor people selling their kidney while alive in order to make an extra buck. Then restrictions followed dominated by the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984. This Act was initially designed to prevent the sale of organs from living donors but it also prevented selling of the rights on ones organs after the individuals' death. This law exists in the US but similar laws apply to most countries in the world. ...read more.


The demand curve, under the abovementioned regulations, is perfectly inelastic and therefore a straight vertical line in the demand model (see figure A1 p.74 Introduction to Economics by Lieberman). This means that regardless the price the same quantity is demanded. The quantity supplied is due to certain laws and governmental constraints kept at an artificial low level. Due to the fact that the government is regulating the prices the current market can be defined as imperfectly competitive. According to a lot of research done by human rights organisations there is an already existing market for human organs. This black market is according to these organisations already in place for decades. In countries like Brazil, China and India human organs can easily be bought. Here, money makes the world go around. This is a very doggy market where poor people still sell a kidney or a part of their liver for money to pay off their debts whatever they are. Another example is local hospitals selling organs after people died to create some extra income. Extreme examples of executed Chinese prisoners whose organs are sold are well none and are under investigation by the FBI. ...read more.


The economic way to handle shortage of supply is to let prices rise to the market-clearing price �. With organs, it will work the same: diseased individuals family should be allowed to sell the organs to patients or hospitals that are willing to pay the right price. Without an incentive, either monetary or something else, the quantity supplied will not increase. A realistic suggestion is the possibility to sell the right on ones organs while alive if they are suitable for transplant at the time of the individual's death. So the answer to the question: "Is there is a perfectly competitive market for human organs," is "yes." The ethical question that remains is: how does the system of registration need to be set up to make sure that the right patient receive the right donor organ without looking at wealth or colour. According to Mr Soros (Atlantic Monthly Jan. 1998) all markets are indiscriminate and tend to reduce everything including human organs to things that can be bought, sold, traded, and stolen. � http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/biotech/organswatch/pages/cadraft.html � Donald Boudreaux and A.C. Pritchard, "Organ Donation: Saving Lives through Incentives"http://www.mackinac.org/images.asp?ID=2482#824 ECO E533 IDT Global Page 1 4/28/2007 ...read more.

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