13 Mar You are tasked with the responsibility of writing a 1-2 page position paper ?on the subject: Should We Permit A Market In The Selling and Buying Human Kidneys? To aid in the co
You are tasked with the responsibility of writing a 1-2 page position paper on the subject: Should We Permit A Market In The Selling and Buying Human Kidneys? To aid in the completion of the task, you are required to read and digest a classis argument in favor of such a market that was advanced by Gary S. Becker.
More particularly, your position paper should
Accurately summarize the economic argument that Becker uses to advance and support his argument. Be especially alert to any economic concepts and/or principles that he employs
Cite data relevant to this issue and hyperlink the source(s) from which the data is drawn: How many people die each year from the inability to secure a kidney? Is Kidney disease more prevalent amongst some demographic groups than others?
Identify, retrieve, and read one article that opposes the argument advanced by people like Becker. Be sure to identify to identify any economic or moral principles that the author uses to support her/his position. Provide your instructor with a hyperlink to all sources.
Take a position and be able to briefly defend that position.
How Uncle Sam Could Ease the Organ Shortage
Gary S. Becker. Business Week. New York: Jan 20, 1997. Iss. 3510; pg. 18.
Improvements during the past decade in the safety and effectiveness of liver, heart, and
kidney transplants induced a rapid growth in the demand for organs, which now far
exceeds supply. It is essential to find ways to raise the supply of organs and ease the
suffering and long wait that many sick persons now endure. That delay can cost lives:
Almost 70 persons die each month while waiting for livers to become available.
The waiting period varies enormously from state to state. Transplant candidates may
receive a liver in less than two weeks in Kansas, while in Massachusetts they can
languish for nearly two years. Political jockeying among hospitals is the reason for this
regional discrepancy in waiting times. Livers are allocated to patients in descending order
of degree of sickness in the regions where they become available, even if patients in other
regions are more likely to be helped, because smaller transplant centers fear that they
would be shut out of a national allocation. Although a national system would reduce
regional discrepancies in waiting times, it would not close the growing gap between an
increasing aggregate demand for liver transplants and a flat total supply.
There is a similar shortage of other organs. About 2,400 heart transplants were performed
in 1995, but almost 4,000 persons are on the registered waiting list for such a transplant.
The media heavily publicized the agonizing wait for a heart replacement in a New York
hospital this past summer by Frank Torre, the brother of the manager of the world
champion New York Yankees baseball team. The gaps between demand and supply are
even greater for kidney and lung transplants: More than 30,000 persons are waiting for
kidney transplants, while only about 10,000 of these were performed in 1995.
BETTER TECHNOLOGY. To satisfy the larger demand for transplants, a campaign was
started last spring, helped by Michael Jordan's participation, to encourage people to leave
their organs for transplant use after they die. Potentially, many more organs can become
available, since more than 2 million persons die annually in the U.S.–almost 100,000 in
accidents alone. Some states instruct individuals to indicate on driver's licenses whether
they give permission to have their organs donated upon death. Such information is
valuable to hospitals, since they must move quickly to preserve organs to be used for
If this campaign succeeds in inducing a sufficient number of people to allow their organs
to be used after they die, the supply of organs would be large enough to satisfy demand.
However, this does not seem likely because the number of persons who want transplants
is increasing quite sharply as transplant technology improves and costs fall.
Every system of assigning priorities for organ transplants when supply is too little to
satisfy demand raises difficult and largely unsolvable ethical issues about who should
receive the limited number of organs available. The only way to abolish the need to
decide who most deserves transplants is by sufficiently increasing the supply of organs.
MEDICAL ETHICS. When demand exceeds supply for ordinary goods, the price is
raised to suppliers in order to induce them to increase the quantities provided. Using
similar incentives would induce more people to allow their organs to be used for
transplants after they die. For example, the Federal government might be designated as
the only authority with the power to buy organs for transplants and would allocate them
to hospitals with patients that need transplants.
I realize that many people will be horrified by any proposal to use monetary incentives to
acquire organs for transplants from people who die. They consider the purchase of organs
to be immoral. They say it will take unfair advantage of poor people, that it will end up
favoring the rich, that it will be too costly. There may be still other objections. I suggest
considering the purchase of organs only because other modifications to the present
system so far have been grossly inadequate to end the shortage.
Currently, replacements for defective organs sometimes become available only when it is
too late to help, and the situation has worsened over time as the demand for transplants
has grown. A sizable increase in the supply of organs for transplants would be a boon to
all the sick people who require transplants, and it would end the uncertainty and long wait
for donor organs to become available. Some alternative solutions to eliminate the large
and growing shortage of vital organs must be found—be they monetary inducements or
more effective appeals to humanitarian motivations.
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