Take a Kidney, Leave a Kidney

11 Feb

Organ transplantation is one of those things that doesn’t quite work well under free market conditions, because well, the demand always seems to outpace the supply. There are lots of reasons why the supply is low–people are weird about death, they live or die in a way that damages their organs–and there aren’t too many ways of increasing the supply that wouldn’t also increase demand.

Here in the U.S., many states have started making organ donor the default when folks head to the DMV to get a driver’s license. Forcing people to actively opt-out seems to work well, because people are lazy. So turning the tables like this makes sense.

Now, as Sally Satel reports for Slate, Israel has come up with another strong incentive for organ donation: donor’s families are paid cash for the deceased’s organ(s), which is intended to be used to memorialize the loved one. Of course, the definition of memorialize is vague. One of the good things about it is that it might curtail the black market trade for organs that exists in certain parts of the world. I dunno. But I found it fascinating and thought I’d share.

1 Comment

Posted by on February 11, 2010 in Uncategorized


One response to “Take a Kidney, Leave a Kidney

  1. Carol

    February 17, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Be careful about sanctoning this. It goes beyond just organ donation into the tissue donation field. Lots of for-profit corporations making tons of money. I know-I work for one. Making it the default attached to something required by law with basically no true informed consent is taking advantage of the public. Guess who becomes organ and tissue donors-the ones that you are advocating for-the lower income working (or non-working)class. The 36 year old out of work construction worker who goes down with an ICB or an MI. So the rich who can afford an organ transplant or whose insurance will pay for a tissue implantation have once again sucked the life out of the "lessers" in society.


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