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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A Different Kind Of Carbon Leakage

3 November, 2009

Red FoxThe Irish Government recently decided to ban fur farming in Ireland. Their justification for this, presumably, stems from concern for animal rights and the cruelty of the practice.

In fact, this measure may end up harming animals – by pushing fur farming out of jurisdictions with responsible and concerned governments, they are forcing fur farming into more permissive and cruel states.

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The Folly of Central Planning

21 October, 2009

USSR FlagThe purpose of the Central Societies’ Committee (CSC) in Trinity College is to secure funding from the Capitation Committee, and then distribute this to societies. Each year, members allocate tens of thousands of euro in funding to student societies around campus.

In a perfect world, all students would have an equal say in how college funding is allocated to societies. After all, this is your money and it is being allocated for your benefit. But a CSC composed of some 15,000 members is completely unworkable and would never reach consensus. Thus, we need a central authority to decide how to spend our money. Or do we?

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Bacik To The Dark Ages?

6 October, 2009

CrossSenator Ivana Bacik claims in Trinity News that “the Minister for Justice has brought us back to the Dark Ages” with the revision of Ireland’s law on blasphemy. Unfortunately, censorship may be reappearing in response to a newer and far more malevolent force than catholic conservatism.

This week, it will have been 4 years since a terrifying manifestation of this – the controversy and violence resultant from the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten.

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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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Failure of Enforcement

2 July, 2009

DrugsMany libertarians claim that intellectual property rights abrogate traditional property rights, by prohibiting individuals from doing want they want with their own possessions. They claim that private contracts could supplant state intervention.

In fact, intellectual property rights arose in response to the impossibility of properly enforcing property rights and contracts. There are also benefits in preserving the profit motive. They are the solution, not the problem.

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