News and brain candy for the philosophy community
Maybe here is a “good” way to earn some extra money in recession times: selling body parts. Yes, exactly. Depending on the country and its legislation, you can profit from selling blood to breast milk and even a kidney. Check here what parts of your body you can sell and where; and how much are they paying for them.
Did you like the idea?
On the one hand, if you believe in the free market and you are very serious about private property; markets for body parts will probably sound like the most efficient way of providing organs for those in need. But the other side of the coin can display something unexpected: the fact that the institution of free market for some types of goods can undermine altruistic motivations and, as a result, lead to a decrease in the quantity and in the quality of the good being marketed.
This is exactly the case of organ donation. Richard Titmuss, who was a prominent social policy researcher, showed that instituting markets for blood increases the supply of bad quality blood and decreases the quantity of blood being offered. This is so because when people start getting paid for something they used to do for altruistic reasons, they lose their philanthropic motivation and the activity consequently loses meaning.
Well, maybe this whole body parts markets is not that good of an idea after all…
By Stewart Goetz, Ursinus College (September 2006)