Walter E. Williams

As of 2005, there were 90,000 Americans on the organ transplant waiting list that is expected to grow to 150,000 by 2015. The authors estimate that since 1990, close to 100,000 people have already died waiting for an organ and they estimate that by 2015, that number will have grown to 196,000. Such a toll doesn't include all the pain and suffering of the waiting patient and his family.

There are a couple of factors, in addition to feel-good ethical values, that might explain the success of the ban on organ sales. People awaiting organs are disproportionately poor, minority, disorganized, sick and unaware of the cause of their plight. The people who benefit from their plight earn a lot of money and are highly organized. These are owners of dialysis clinics, those who receive funding for transplant research and agencies that manage organ procurement and allocation. In fact, everyone involved in the transplant business gets paid handsomely, except the organ donor. I'd like to know what standard of ethics justifies such a death toll and disconnect between costs and benefits.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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