The Gift of Life

By Megan McArdle

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?

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2009/07/the-gift-of-life/21269/