Organ Donation and the Gift of Life

Virginia Postrel has a terrific piece on organ donation in our pages. Long story short:  don't count on cadaver organs, because there aren't enough of them, and organs from living donors last longer.  We need quasi-market mechanisms to attract more living donors.


Postrel deals with "donor chains" in which people who want to give a kidney, but are incompatible with their target, form chains with other incompatible donors to get everyone what they want.  Then she moves onto markets, which are very controversial.  I confess, I don't understand the ban on paying for organs.  We let eighteen year olds decide to go to Iraq in order to eventually pay for college, but we won't let a thirty-five year old sell off a part of himself that he probably won't need, and with which he could save a life?

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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