Monday, November 19, 2007

Kidney Kidney Don't Leave Home Without It

Do you know how much you'll get if you sell one of your kidneys? Around P200, 000 minus the P30, 000 referral fee you pay to your agent (if you have any). That leaves you with P170, 000 which can buy you a secondhand car, a small franchise business, a few months' rental in one of Divisoria's malls plus the merchandise, around 8,500 bottles of C2 Green Tea, fourteen years of broadband internet connection, or 1,700 McDonald's quarter pounder value meals—you get the drift. One-seventy grand is a big, big thing compared to a relatively small and useless other kidney.

Just a while ago, I was watching Jessica Soho's report on rampant kidney selling among our poorer countrymen. The report emphasized that besides being illegal, it is immoral and unethical. We can also put it this way: selling one's kidney is immoral and unethical, therefore it is illegal. As such reports go, however, the words immoral and unethical are not clearly defined. Their framework has something to do with donating one's kidney rather than selling it is a good thing, that exploiting the poor is a bad thing, and that showing fresh-ish, scabbing surgical wounds on television every other second or so is cool. That's it.

Let us use a more concrete framework to determine what is ethical or moral: a capitalist one. Capitalism is a very impersonal market structure. In its purer forms, it doesn't care shit about parity or poverty eradication—its main concern is efficiency in allocation, the achievement of equilibrium between supply and demand. Now this is the situation: a woman will die if she does not have a kidney compatible with her body. Another woman's family is starving. Both women need something very badly. One has money but is dying, the other is dirt poor but has a compatible kidney which can extend a life. In a capitalist framework, the most logical, efficient, ethical, moral way to solve this dilemma is the facilitation of a kidney sale. Supply and demand are met. One goes home two hundred grand lighter and the other a kidney less. Everybody happy.


Blogger amicus said...

the question left hanging is this: is the 200k (less tax, less others) financial cost of kidney equal to the economic (health, social, etc. included) costs of the kidney to its original owner (supply) equal to its economic benefits to the prospective new one (supply)? the poorer men almost always have the lower hand of the deal.

nice blog, btw. :)

12:10 PM  
Blogger lizlan said...

in this case i think it's the rich people who get the lower hand of the deal. selling one's kidney is illegal. it should be donated, not bought, according to law. so why should someone pay for a kidney when he/she should get it for free? from another point of view, it's the poor who exploit the rich's needs.

12:20 PM  

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