Thomas Sowell

Many of these squeamish people are in good health and will probably never need an organ transplant. But others who are not so fortunate must suffer and die because these physically healthy people would feel squeamish about organs being bought and sold.

No doubt people who are poor are more likely to sell a kidney than people who are rich, so opposition to such sales can be wrapped in the rhetoric of "social justice."

But what is just about denying some people an opportunity to get out of poverty and denying other people an opportunity to get out of debilitation and suffering that can only end in death?

Not all organ sales would have to be from living people, just as most organ transplants today are not from living people.

People could sell the right to have their organs removed after death or sell the rights to the organs of dead family members, if they chose.

Nothing is easier than to conjure up horrible scenarios that could result from sales of organs. But the very reason we have laws in the first place is because horrible things could happen otherwise in every aspect of life.

More organs to transplant are needed, and people tend to supply more of anything when they are paid more -- and especially when they are paid something instead of being paid nothing.

But, here as elsewhere, we must first overcome squeamishness. And the first step is to stop confusing it with being humane.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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