Big Donor Exposes Big Shortage


It turns out that the “Big Donor” program in the Netherlands was a hoax, but a very good way to draw attention to the tremendous shortage of transplantable organs, a shortage caused by government inserting itself between willing donors and willing recipients and blocking mutually beneficial forms of cooperation. Incentives are not — repeat, not! — to be allowed, other than moral hectoring and state coercion. My colleague Sigrid Fry-Revere took on the issue and defended voluntary agreements to help others with kidney donations.

P.S. I’ve blogged on planes before (SAS and Lufthansa have offered wifi on board), but this is my first blog entry while on a train, using my Verizon broadband wireless access gadget. I recommend the one that plugs into the USB port, since it’s compatible with basically all computers, including desktops (in case your DSL or cable access goes down).

3 Responses to “Big Donor Exposes Big Shortage”

  1. Benjamin Hippen

    Unfortunately, this particular piece of exhibitionism was undertaken at the expense of the hopes of three genuine transplant candidates. As a practicing transplant nephrologist, my personal experiences with donors and recipients leaves me reticent about the producers’ justification of the means, in this instance, to an otherwise worthwhile end.

    Still, there is no doubting the human costs of an exclusive reliance on altruism alone to resolve the organ shortage:

  2. Benjamin Hippen

    I’m apparently mistaken. Virginia Postrel informs me that the recipients were in on the deception, a point which was not included in several of the news reports.

    Mea culpa,

    Ben Hippen

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