Repugnant markets

Written by randy on October 10th, 2008

The following link is to the transcript of a program from the BBC. Economist Tim Harford is the narrator. It raises several interesting questions about repugnant markets.

Should dwarf tossing be banned? When France banned dwarf tossing it put human missiles out of business and one has sued in the US Court of Human Rights. He lost. If people do not object to dwarf tossing would they also not object to jew, muslim, or mormon tossing?

What about selling body parts such as kidneys? Apparently many men in the Philippines are willing to sell one of theirs.

Or cadavar skin for penis enlargements?

This from the program transcript:

(Music)  Providing immediate transplants, both cadaver and live, in 
countries concerned with providing safe and legal procedures is our 
primary goal.  The cost for a kidney or pancreas is 140,000 US dollars.  
The cost for a heart, lung or liver is 290,000 US dollars.  These costs 
include travel and all hospital fees.  There are no additional costs.
HARFORD:	The text of our little advertisement 
comes from a genuine website, based in California, selling organs for 
transplant overseas.  And frankly, it all sounds disgusting. Yet distasteful or 
not, there is a serious problem to be solved. Four hundred people die each 
year on the UK waiting list for an organ, and about 3,500 die waiting for a 
kidney in the US. 

POSTREL:	People get to think oh how heroic it 
is, these people donating their kidneys!  Isn’t that wonderful?  I get a 
happy glow from it!  And they want to keep it as a heroic, 
uncompensated act because it makes them feel good.  Never mind 
that you know tens of thousands of people are dying for your right to 
feel good about other people’s heroic acts.

Here is the post:


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