The Difference Between Kidneys and Babies

29 March, 2010

The most interesting question that I’ve addressed in a debate recently has been whether there should be a market for adoption and surrogacy. Although the concept jars with most people, the real reason to oppose such a market isn’t immediately clearly.

After all, if two individuals can make themselves happier through the exchange of money for services, what business does the state have in prohibiting it? We have markets for everything else, and there’s strong evidence to suggest that organs trade should be legalised. So what is the difference between a kidney and a baby?

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Rolling Back the Rules of the Road

1 August, 2009

Traffic ConeThe Christian Science Monitor has a fascinating piece on how traffic laws cause accidents, by diminishing the attention that drivers pay to the roads and reducing their reliance on their own best judgement. Could their complete absence improve matters?

There is clearly a simple trade-off here. Drivers can choose to concentrate on the road, thus making them better equipped to react to unexpected occurrences and more aware of their surroundings. They could alternatively just trust the lights and the signs.

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Marketing Health Care

30 July, 2009

SyringeEconomist Paul Krugman claims that the market cannot provide health care, because of the inevitable conflict of interest between health insurers and consumers. He draws far too many conclusions from the phenomena that he observes.

The health care debate tends to conflate the two elements associated with a market: supply and demand. The imperfections in the free market affect both sides differently, and require different approaches. Luckily though, they can be separated and dealt with accordingly.

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Increasing Efficiency in the Market for Death

20 April, 2009

AlcoholThere are no hard and fast rules when it comes to governance. If an individual makes a decision that entails harmful health side-effects, or risks catastrophic negative health implications, the state neither automatically bails him out nor always leaves him to take responsibility for his own actions. Rather, one must take a balanced view of the imposition that either policy places on other individuals within society.

For example, if the worst consequences of alcohol abuse was increased demand for livers and there were plenty of them, there would be no problem in facilitating this rescue. If, on the other hand, successfully transplanting a new liver into someone who formerly abused alcohol resulted in the destruction of several livers and at the cost of millions in costs to the public health service, we would be less inclined to rescue the individual. The reality of the cost imposed on society lies somewhere between these two extremes.

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