Carpe Diem

Without market pricing, kidney demand now exceeds supply by almost 6 to 1, and thousands needlessly die waiting

kidneys

National kidney transplant and waiting list data through the end of 2012 are now available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the situation for those unfortunate patients on the growing waiting list for a kidney transplant has never been more grim.

Here are the depressing facts:

1. There were only 16,845 kidney transplant operations performed in 2012, a decrease of 328 from the 16,813 operations in 2011, following a decrease of 86 operations from 2010 to 2011.  Fewer kidney operations were performed last year than in any year since 2005.

2. While the annual number of kidney transplant operations has remained relatively flat since 2005 in a range between about 16,500 and 17,000, the number of registered patients on the waiting list continues to increase (see chart). From about 65,000 registered patients in 2005, the waiting list for a kidney transplant has increased 46% and by 30,000 patients to the 95,000 patients who were on the waiting list at the end of last year (see chart above).  Since the first of the year, another 500 patients have joined the waiting list, bringing the current total (as of March 8) to about 95,500 registered candidates.

3. In 1988, there were fewer than two patients on the waiting list for a kidney for every transplant operation performed, and there are now 5.8 patients per operation. Stated differently, in the late 1980s the number of transplant operations represented  more than half of the number of patients on the kidney waiting list. Last year, the number of transplant operations represented only 18.5% of the number of patients on the waiting list.

4. In 2012, there were 4,100 registered candidates who died while waiting for a kidney (more than 11 per day), and another 2,700 candidates were removed from the list because they became too sick to survive a kidney transplant operation.

Bottom Line: The situation for those with renal failure waiting desperately to receive a kidney continues to worsen every year under the current policy that prohibits any form of donor compensation.  The only realistic, long-term and truly compassionate solution to address America’s worsening kidney shortage is to legalize some form of donor compensation. That would require Congress to amend the outdated National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 so that people who give kidneys could receive a benefit, perhaps a tax credit, tuition voucher, lifetime health coverage or a contribution to a retirement plan.

We know from basic economic principles that congestion, shortages, and surpluses are always caused by a failure to apply market pricing. The market for kidneys is no different in principle than the market for crude oil, Justin Bieber tickets, old coins, soybeans, or unskilled labor. Because the demand for kidneys exceeds the supply by a factor of almost 6 times under the current policy, it seems obvious that the deadly kidney shortage is artificially created because the current “price” of $0.00 for kidneys is way below the market-clearing price. The current system of kidney allocation that relies exclusively on altruism is obviously not working, and thousands of patients needing a kidney transplant will continue to die every year until some type of market pricing is allowed.

37 thoughts on “Without market pricing, kidney demand now exceeds supply by almost 6 to 1, and thousands needlessly die waiting

  1. I wonder if an offer to pay something toward funeral/memorial/cremation expenses for an organ donor would encourage more people to sign up for donation, as well as act as added incentive when family members are asked?

    Only pay for funeral-type expenses AND if the donor is actually dead to avoid people being encouraged to sell their kidneys (or other parts) for money.

    Perhaps also, tax credits to the deceased’s estate?

    Just trying to do a little outside-of-the-box/coffin thinking here. ;-)

  2. to my mind, this has always been a very simple issue and one that we got completely wrong in law.

    your kidney (or any other organ for that matter) is yours. it is your property. it is impossible to even imagine who else’s it might be claimed to be?

    if it’s your property, you get to decide what to do with it. you can keep it, give it away, or sell it and nobody gets to tell you otherwise.

    if it is legal to give a kidney because it’s yours, i can think of no valid rationale to ban you from selling it.

    what other form of property besides an organ can one legally give to a friend, but not sell?

    • I find it exceedingly odd that we have had the Supreme Court tell us that you have an absolute right to actually kill a human being in your womb, but you have no right to sell a body part.

    • what other form of property besides an organ can one legally give to a friend, but not sell?“…

      I can’t think of anything off hand but I wouldn’t be suprised if there was something in the Federal Register that might address that question…

      Problem there is, just how much can one spend plowing through all those rules and notices?

  3. In this country, a free market doesn’t stay free very long. You start making a profit and you’ll open up a whole new police state.

  4. Can the lack of supply simply be people unwilling or unable to donate? as opposed to a pricing issue?
    Seems this is being turned into an economic issue when it may be a supply issue that no pricing can fix – people get attached to their body parts and tend to want to keep them…forever.

    I don’t know- just asking…

    • Everything is ultimately a pricing issue. Price is just a way of gauging relative value. I don’t know what the market clearing price for kidneys would be, but it’s very clear that it’s above the current price, which is zero.

      • starting off with the proposition that the US and most all OCED countries have it WRONG with regard to libertarian concepts… is there any evidence of such markets in other countries? For instance, there are many things that are illegal in the US/OCED that are not or if so not enforced – in other countries.

        do we have any evidence of markets in other countries?

  5. We could sove this another way. The government could REQUIRE healthy donors who match to give up a kidney, under the golden rule philosophy, no one would wish to be denied a kidney if the needed one, so no one should be allowed to refuse to give.

      • In a world with out 200 countries with a true planet global economy -one would think this would be easily solved via Medical Tourism.

        I mean people will gladly sell you their kids or rent them out as sex toys for the rich so why not kidneys?

        What the heck good is a global economy if it won’t work right, eh?

        • In a world with out 200 countries with a true planet global economy -one would think this would be easily solved via Medical Tourism.

          And it is. Wealthy people can easily get kidneys when they need them because they can outbid the rest of us for the limited supply of them. Everyone else must rely on the goodwill of family, friends, and strangers who are willing to risk medical problems and even death to provide them with a kidney for no personal gain. The number of people willing to do that for any of us is very small, and may not include a proper match.

          I mean people will gladly sell you their kids or rent them out as sex toys for the rich so why not kidneys?

          You probably think you are making a sarcastic remark, but if you really believe people gladly sell their children, then you should have no trouble believing that there would be far more kidneys available if they could be openly sold.

          What the heck good is a global economy if it won’t work right, eh?

          The global market works great. Removing government interference and allowing people to pay others for the risks involved in donating kidneys would certainly help the market work better by increasing the supply.

          It’s just the law of supply and demand, which we know is immutable. If you limit the price of something you will get less of it. Just like gasoline in a region damaged by a big storm.

          • “I mean people will gladly sell you their kids or rent them out as sex toys for the rich so why not kidneys?”

            You probably think you are making a sarcastic remark, but if you really believe people gladly sell their children, then you should have no trouble believing that there would be far more kidneys available if they could be openly sold.”

            No. I’m making a dead serious remark. how can the majority of govts NOT agree on a worldwide basis to convince some countries NOT sell kids and the very same countries manage to agree to not sell kidneys in a similar way?

            it makes no sense at all since the results is that kids will get sold to perverts but kidney’s can’t be sold to save lives.

            “The global market works great. Removing government interference and allowing people to pay others for the risks involved in donating kidneys would certainly help the market work better by increasing the supply.”

            well.. that’s unlikely to happen at this juncture so what is something more realistic that can gain govt support and agreement?

            “It’s just the law of supply and demand, which we know is immutable. If you limit the price of something you will get less of it. Just like gasoline in a region damaged by a big storm.”

            I’ve never disagreed with how unfettered supply and demand works. I agree – in a unrestricted world, supply and demand IS immutable.

            but the real world does not work that way or should we say – not exactly that way – and yes, not without adverse externalities – like shortages of kidney’s when there is little reason why since we have an enormous supply that would cause little harm to those who donate in most cases.

            I don’t agree with Hydra’s approach but the irony here is similar to people without insurance that all of a sudden need expensive life-saving care – and expect it to be provided.

            It’s a simple thing to sign up as a donor on a drivers license in most states but clearly not enough will do it – even those who eventually end up needing a kidney some day.

            Given the unlikely departure of the govt from this issue, the frustrating thing is that I believe the govt COULD do something more than they are now to incentivize it.

    • wow, i hope you are joking.

      is this the sort of power you want the state to have?

      and just how would we pick the donors in this charming little kidney version of the hunger games you propose?

      clearly, most would not have to donate them, so how do we pick those who would?

      and what if we followed this strategy in other areas?

      would we all be required to house anyone who asked in our homes? lend $100 to anyone who asks?

      besides, this whole line of reasoning is self defeating.

      sure, we might all want a kidney donated if we are sick, but we all want to live healthily and avoid unnecessary surgery too. what, does the golden rule apply to only one side?

        • this from a guy who is talking to larry, the uncontested king of illogic and repetition?

          hello, pot? this is the kettle. you’re black.

          :-P

          • looks like Morg is quite the fascist when it comes to the free market of free speech, eh?

          • hello, pot? this is the kettle. you’re black.

            LOL

            You’re right, of course. :)

            And just in case there’s any doubt, the king of illogic pipes up with irrefutable proof.

            What was I thinking?

          • morganovich

            You might be interested (or not) to know that I’m determined to restrict my exposure to Larry to only one or two responses per comment. No longer will I follow him down the rabbit hole interminably.

            I don’t think I can end my addiction completely and just bite my tongue as wrongness rolls by in waves, but I hope to limit my exposure.

            Wish me luck.

          • absolutely not larry.

            i think you are free to speak as you like.

            i am free to ignore it if i like if i think speaking to you is a waste of time.

            i am also free to covey that view to others if i like, particularly if they are someone i like and would seek to aid in avoiding time wasting.

            that’s about as free market as it gets.

            i have not forced anyone to do anyhting, merely made my own choices and conveyed information to allow others to make theirs.

            the fact that this is not painfully obvious to you is precisely why i have deemed it not generally worth speaking to you and will now go back to doing so.

            your being free to speak does not obligate me to listen or care, much less waste any more time trying to teach you how circular thinking works.

          • no Morg – you have invited me to leave and have encouraged others who are using foul language and nasty rhetoric not found on many other sites and you have supported them say that that kind of behavior is warranted.

            be honest Morg. At least fess up to your role here. You do not have clean hands at all – and you know it.

    • The government could REQUIRE healthy donors who match to give up a kidney, under the golden rule philosophy, no one would wish to be denied a kidney if the needed one, so no one should be allowed to refuse to give“…

      I think I have a better idea

      I think my method is cheaper and the upsides are more apparent and faster acting…

      Just saying is all…

  6. The problem insofar as organ transplant is concerned is the supply, not the demand. Whatever the market price of the kidney, that’s made up for by the other medical charges (the doctors say, “Thank you very much for the organ,” then put its price in their own pockets as part of the fee).

    What’s needed is a system which better encourages people to donate organs. Although we probably wouldn’t want a system (which India once had) of allowing live persons to donate organs (possible for organs like kidneys, where one has two of them), current law allows no compensation even to the estate of a deceased. Furthermore, some of the procedures currently used for “harvesting” (which now includes harvesting of skin) can cause a body to be “iced” for a couple years, making such things as funerals difficult if not impossible.

    Once again, in the interests of thumbing our noses at “crass capitalism,” we are creating our own mess.

    • ” What’s needed is a system which better encourages people to donate organs. Although we probably wouldn’t want a system (which India once had) of allowing live persons to donate organs (possible for organs like kidneys, where one has two of them), current law allows no compensation even to the estate of a deceased. Furthermore, some of the procedures currently used for “harvesting” (which now includes harvesting of skin) can cause a body to be “iced” for a couple years, making such things as funerals difficult if not impossible.”

      I agree completely but again I’d point out that we have voluntary system where people won’t voluntarily donate even though they know they themselves realize it’s possible they might need a kidney in the future.

      There are LOTS of people who DO fill out donor cards who do realize this and consciously fill out the donor card.

      They say you can buy a kidney in Iran but last I heard it was about 150 kidneys a year because “they do not have the infrastructure”.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2322914/

      but doesn’t this sort of beg the question that if there is a demand and there is a free market – that the infrastructure would be provided by the free market to meet that demand?

      I don’t pretend to know all the aspect of the Iran situation but the same article says : ” In order to resolve the shortage of donors, some have advocated financial payments being made to donors. Despite being illegal in most countries, the trade appears to be booming in nations such as Turkey, Russia, and South Africa (2). Just as waiting lists and costs motivate some people to travel outside of their country of residence for procedures such as hip replacements and cosmetic surgery – a phenomenon called ‘health tourism’, a similar phenomenon appears to be occurring on a smaller scale for organ transplants (3).”

      so we’ve got this conundrum where the rich can indeed get their kidney and the un-rich cannot… but one would think that not everyone who needs a kidney is rich or poor that some are middle class who have assets and the ability to afford things like backyard pools and SUVs, etc.

      Perhaps it would be helpful to see the demographics of those who are on the wait lists – perhaps the truth is that those who can afford it are already doing it but it’s not tracked and there might a hint about that if the waiting lists are mostly folks who are poor.

    • Robert Crim: “The problem insofar as organ transplant is concerned is the supply, not the demand.

      More precisely, the problem is that the price signal is unavailable to notify suppliers to increase supply to meet demand

      Whatever the market price of the kidney….”

      And that’s just the problem. There is no market price. The only compensation is that wonderful feeling that you have saved a loved one from certain death. That only works for people with close emotional ties to the recipient.

      What’s needed is a system which better encourages people to donate organs.

      A free market in kidneys would do just that?

      Although we probably wouldn’t want a system (which India once had) of allowing live persons to donate organs (possible for organs like kidneys, where one has two of them)…

      Why not? There’s nothing clearer than who owns a person’s kidneys.

      • I believe my objection was that, under current law, people through their estates are not allowed to sell organs for transplant, so much of Ron’s response is speaking to an open door.

        As for extending such a system to live individuals, I would suggest that he study the Indian system before he makes so radical a judgment about “absolute” property rights (there were some real horror stories there).

        Finally, whether the price is posted or not, there is a market price for kidneys (and livers, and whatever): It’s factored into the cost of the operation (at least to the extent it can be). Thus, if the market price for a liver transplant is $250,000, the costs are apportioned $0 to the donor and $250,000 to the doctors. There can be no inference that changing this apportionment (e.g., to 50/50) would change the market price (unless, of course, the physicians somehow are being prevented from charging what the market will bear for the overall service). What’s happening is not the defeat of “crass capitalism” by the Shining Knights of social justice. What’s happening is that the doctors are taking the donor’s share and keeping it for themselves.

        • Robert

          that’s a figure of speech I haven’t heard before; “speaking to an open door” is a new one on me, so your meaning isn’t clear.

          As for extending such a system to live individuals, I would suggest that he study the Indian system before he makes so radical a judgment about “absolute” property rights (there were some real horror stories there).

          Absolute property rights aren’t dependent on judgments, but are first principles. Every person owns themselves and their bodies. Their kidneys, for example, most certainly belong to them, and there is no legitimate reason for anyone else to dictate what a person can do with a kidney. I am assuming a living, conscious, consensual adult, capable of making informed decisions about their own bodies and their parts.

          Your reference to horror stories does not change the original ownership of a person’s kidneys.

          If by horror stories you mean harvesting of organs from people who are brain-dead but otherwise alive, then you are perhaps asking the thorny question of whether it’s morally superior to act to save a person who will die without a kidney transplant, or to keep a brain-dead corpse alive at the expense of a patient who needs a kidney. A living will and advance directives can certainly clear up any uncertainty about the intent of a potential donor as to the disposition of their organs when that person is unable to speak for themselves.

          My previous comments presumed a living, conscious donor who was capable of making consensual, informed decisions about their own body.

          Finally, whether the price is posted or not, there is a market price for kidneys…

          I think you are conflating the cost of a kidney with the cost of a kidney transplant. This is like confusing the price of a steak with the price of a steak dinner. If I used your example, I could claim that my favorite restaurant is charging me a price for a steak dinner that includes the cost of the steak, but isn’t paying the butcher. That would certainly explain why so few steak dinners are consumed. Maybe more steaks (kidneys) would be available if the providers were paid for their product.

          In economics a market price is that price at which a willing seller and a willing buyer agree to an exchange. Your use of the term is incorrect, as the seller/donor gets nothing in exchange for their kidney.

          • Robert Crim is pretty much following the reality of the world in his discussion – something that will outrage the so-called libertarian types here who will first gently suggest that he is wrong then use strong words and Morg will chime in saying he is using logical fallacies then Ron and others will start using infantile language like “moron” and “prick”.

            be forewarned Mr. Crim – this is the way these guys operate and you have to stick to your guns.

            their goal here is to convince you to conform to their views or leave or put up with “justified” abuse’.

            interestingly enough, you’ll not find these guys on blogs where there are rules about being polite and respectful of others and to not use ad hominems or abusive language.

            Nope. they mostly hang out here because it’s one of the few places with no rules, a “free market” is ideas and speech – unless of course you dare utter something that is real world and violates their libertarian sensibilities.

            If you are a libertarian wannabie with the emotional maturity of a 5 year with respect to folks whose views you do not like – this is the place!!!!

            or you could swing over to Cafe Hayek where strangely enough most of these yahoos are not there… and the dialogue is fairly polite even in disagreement.

          • Larry, I was a libertarian probably before Ron was born (what I meant by “speaking to an open door”).

            The idea of “absolute” property rights is a long-standing libertarian argument, and a quarter century ago, I probably would have aped it. Then I studied the law of property and realized that things aren’t so simple.

            The actual absolute rule is that sovereignty knows no limits save those it imposes on itself. Were I to kill poor Ron and eat him, his only answer to that would be to find a bigger pet lion. Furthermore, it would make no sense to refer to such a beast as a “lousy, lying, thieving, murderous lion.” “Lion” will suffice.

            If the absolute is sovereignty, then it is error to say that property comes first. Rather, property is an extension of sovereignty and a means by which sovereigns organize their societies. This is the universal rule in all human history, and there never has been a society where property was no more than an extension of the logical mind of man (a la Rand).

            Nowhere is this rule more clear than in the associated rule that sovereign property may not be transferred except among sovereigns. That very issue came to the Supreme Court in 1823 in Johnson v. M’Intyre, where the question was whether title to land transferred from Indians to private American citizens had precedence over title transferred from Indians to the United States and thence to private citizens. The bad news for the first party (the “libertarians”) was (and still is) that the Court is a creature of the sovereign and will take judicial notice of that. When we cut through John Marshall’s prejudice against Indians, we realize that there still can be only one judgment (the one rendered).

            Now, it might be argued that, following the “natural” libertarian rule, Ron simply could hire a “disinterested” third party, call him or her a “judge,” and secure a more favorable result. This undoubtedly is true, but for him to do that is to assert the authority of a sovereign and to establish not private property but sovereign property. Like the Indians originally, he can assert that kind of title solely as long as he can maintain an army large enough at least to deter those “lousy, lying, thieving, murderous” Americans from taking the title from him. To do that, he would need the resources of sovereignty, and he never would have those resources were he not to reserve (in the course of distributing private title to his “citizens”) a residuum of the sovereign title by which he could command obligatory support. True: This is not “libertarian”; but, show me a society anywhere in history where the libertarian rule has prevailed?

            The Lockean effort to reduce questions of property to an exercise in logic simply does not work. It is no answer to a lion.

            The question of market price versus costs is interesting, but it has been solved before by such as Murray Rothbard in considering whether taxes imposed can be passed forward. Rothbard’s answer was: No, a tax only can be passed backward. That is because a MARKET price is a market price — the price at which the market clears in terms of supply and demand. If the market clears at $250,000, then the market price of the transplant is $250,000. If the government then imposes a 50 per cent tax on the operation, the market (at least in the moment) still clears at $250,000. The immediate result is that the doctors get only half as much, and the government gets the other half.

            Replacing “the government” with “the kidney donor” does not change this. Of course, in the long run, the number of doctors willing to do such an operation well might decrease, lowering the supply and raising the price, and if one considers the supply a “flow” rather than a “stock” (as many economic texts do), then within that context it might be permissible to say the tax can be passed forward. It seems to me, however, that Rothbard better describes what actually is happening — the tax is passed solely backward, winks out marginal producers, lowers supply, and THAT leads to an increase in price.

            In the situation of a kidney donor, no one is being required, even in death, to give up a kidney. That they get no money for it under current law is irrelevant to what the actual recipient pays for the operation. It is a fact that increasing the supply of kidneys would increase the supply of kidneys, and that an increased supply would allow the market to clear at a lower price (the recipient’s position in reverse). One also could argue (and I would argue) that in death, through the estate, one should be allowed to sell body parts (WHY should doctors “ethically” receive ALL of the money — what is “ethical” about that?). But, as a matter of economics, it simply is error to say that “payment” in “good feelings” (the current law) constitutes no payment at all. Profit, after all, depends on what you’re after; the laws of human action, and of praxeology, are independent of the motive. What cannot be denied reasonably is that, even with no payment at all, we do obtain a supply of SOME kidneys. Obviously, for SOME, “good feelings” is payment enough. For others (like Ron and, yes, me), someone is going to have to cough up some bread or do without. Without changing the law, we’ll have a permanent depression in the supply of body parts, to the extent we don’t learn how to plug in parts from a pig.

            I’ve said enough here, so I won’t venture further on extending a “permitted sale” rule to live donors, other than to say that the horror stories in India did involve thinking, conscious people. Once we get away from the idea of property rights as an absolute, we are confronted with whether any rational, LIVING person could sell an organ with full appreciation for the consequences. Such an issue in equity is interesting but beyond the scope of this reply.

          • Robert – that was a principled response and much appreciated.

            re: good feelings

            what possesses people (who may have heirs) to do this:

            http://goo.gl/mSTIB

            I’d be one of them. Been on my license for 30+ years.

            re: kidneys verses installation fees…

            you buy the motor then pay a mechanic to install it, right?

          • I’d be more generous too except that I realize the nature of the current shortage, and that this will not change unless principled citizens stand foursquare for amending an archaic law. What I want is not money for my heirs (though that would be nice) but an increase in the overall supply of transplantable parts. Laws (and therefore elections) have consequences, in terms of the efficiency with which a society “works” and the availability of at least some of its options. So, I say to Congress (and the state legislatures): “When I go to Arlington, I’m going with both of my kidneys in the ashes, and if you don’t like that, change the rule.”

          • Robert

            Wow! That’s more of a response than I expected on a comment thread of an economics blog.

            First of all, let me just say that it’s very unlikely you were a libertarian before I was born, although anything is possible. If that’s really the case, you have lived a long time, and I can understand your preoccupation with organ donations. :)

            You have presented a forceful argument for the belief that “might makes right”, so it now seems possible that we will disagree on first principles, but I will address some of your comment.

            Of course you are correct that property rights derive from sovereignty – the sovereignty of the individual. We are each independent, self governing, and self owning individuals. By extension, we own our actions, and the products of our actions.

            This notion isn’t even unique to humans. We can observe in the animal world that when an animal produces its dinner by making a kill or finding fruit, they understand, perhaps instinctively, that they own that dinner and will defend it against others who might wish to take it. We can also observe cooperative efforts among animals that produce more dinners per capita than individual efforts might produce. Prides of lions and packs of wolves come to mind.

            In humans, it may be the ability to consciously consider the advantages of cooperative action that has lead to the division of labor, exchange, and mutually beneficial group activities that we know as *society*.

            It may be the recognition that one benefits more from limiting one’s own sovereignty in relation to others than by retaining full autonomy that results in the libertarian creed that no one may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. Despite many examples to the contrary, it’s hard to argue that people are better off as a result of theft and pillage as opposed to cooperation and mutually beneficial exchange.

            The basic problem with the judgment rendered in Johnson V. M’Intosh is that it doesn’t recognize the individual and collective sovereignty of Indians. As a basis for good law it’s as meaningless as saying “Our team wins because we say so, and we are stronger, so there.” Might makes right.

            And on to the kidney discussion:

            First this: “ But, as a matter of economics, it simply is error to say that “payment” in “good feelings” (the current law) constitutes no payment at all. Profit, after all, depends on what you’re after; the laws of human action, and of praxeology, are independent of the motive. What cannot be denied reasonably is that, even with no payment at all, we do obtain a supply of SOME kidneys. Obviously, for SOME, “good feelings” is payment enough.

            That is absolutely correct, and I didn’t suggest that “good feelings” are no payment at all. Anything one receives in exchange that they want more than what they give, is adequate payment. It need not involve money at all. My point was that apparently very few people get enough “good feeling” from donating their kidneys – while they are still alive – to strangers. The supply of kidneys purchased with “good feelings” is inadequate to meet demand. Yes, supply in this case should be viewed as a flow.

            In addition, it appears that the number of viable kidneys available from the deceased is low for whatever reason, some of which are no doubt medical in nature, despite the number of people who put that little dot on their driver’s license.

            That is because a MARKET price is a market price — the price at which the market clears in terms of supply and demand. If the market clears at $250,000, then the market price of the transplant is $250,000.

            Yes, the market price for a *transplant*, just as the market price for a complete steak dinner at my favorite restaurant is $60., but I must order one and make reservations 8 months in advance, because steaks are only available when my close relatives, who love me, pitch in to buy me one as they can’t stand my whining when I go without steak for too long.

            If that silly law prohibiting the transplanting of steaks from cows to my table was lifted, I suspect a lot more would become available.

            In your scenario it is the doctors who are limiting the supply of kidneys, rather than the real culprit, the government.

            If that government restriction was lifted, the market would adjust itself to some other price based on a larger supply of kidneys from people who were interested in a big payday. Perhaps higher initially, but eventually lower as the increased supply causing prices for kidneys to decrease. Keep in mind that there is already competition for doctor’s services from medical tourist destinations.

            If the government then imposes a 50 per cent tax on the operation, the market (at least in the moment) still clears at $250,000. The immediate result is that the doctors get only half as much, and the government gets the other half. i.”

            Why do you assume the market clearing price wouldn’t immediately increase, pushing the tax forward? The demand for kidneys isn’t very elastic with respect to price, after all, only the supply.

  7. Yes, organs are owned by the person, that is his property. he can do anything with it, he can donate freely or can donate for money that is his wish, nobody can stop it, what he is doing, giving new life for others. money is not the constraint. that is my view

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