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Bans on selling organs in numerous Western countries have compelled those with the money to travel to China, where illegal organ harvesting from "enemies of the state" has created a multi-million dollar industry in which prisoners are tissue-typed and killed for their organs once buyers with matching characteristics are found. China performs the second-hghest number of transplants per year, despite low levels of voluntary donation, and has organ wait times that dwarf other nations'-- one to two weeks for a liver compared with 32.5 months in Canada. Humans, killed-to-order, so that others live.
In the absence of restrictions and with the ability to act with impunity, it seems like just about anything can be commodified and stamped with a market price. Conventional morality never keeps people lacking it from engaging in such detestable practices.
Indeed. But given this mentality, is there something that we ,living in countries with these bans, can do? There are obvious issues with a market-based approach, which would invariably exclude all but the richest from obtaining transplants. But what of more egalitarian options: Mandating that only those adults who agree to be listed as an organ donor (on their license, for instance) would be eligible to receive a transplant-- with the intent that of expanding the number of organ donors as opposed to limiting transplants to a select group. Or perhaps subsidies to those who agree to have their organs removed following death? While not likely to solve the supply shortage entirely, these options may also work to remove the baseless taboo that many countries, America included, have on registering as an organ donor.