John Stossel

Some 400,000 Americans are on a waiting list now for a new kidney, and they are not allowed to pay for one.

"We sell hair. We sell sperm. We sell eggs these days." Boaz added.

Gillespie added, "The best way to grow the supply and allow more people to live is to allow the market to price those organs."

Maybe the most counterintuitive position argued on my show was that blackmail should not be a crime. Blackmail (unlike extortion) is the demand for money in return for withholding information. Robin Hanson, a George Mason University economist, defends blackmail.

"The thing you're threatening when you're threatening blackmail (is) gossip," Hanson said. "If it should be all right to tell people, it should be all right to threaten to tell people."

What we don't like, however, is the blackmailer saying, "Pay me to keep quiet."

"But the effect of that is to make people behave," Hanson said. "If we (allow) blackmail, people behave even more because they are even more afraid of what might happen if they don't."

Maybe Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff would have been caught earlier?

"That's right. ... Blackmail is actually a form of private law enforcement."

Also, since gossip is free speech, blackmail is simply selling the service of not engaging in free speech. Why should that be outlawed?

I subtitled my last book, "Everything You Know Is Wrong." I was exaggerating, of course, but many things we're taught are fallacies. That's why I like economics. It explodes fallacies.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate