Friday, April 14, 2006


Question II

Why aren't there more markets for human blood?

I only know of the American Red Cross. How many are there? Why isn't it more visible?

We can carry this over to the lack of markets for organs and that might help explain the lack of visbility, but why aren't there more?

Is it because there is so much government money mixed in that no one knows the price of blood, and no one is paid for giving blood? We know what the market for plasma is.
Well I guess the question is actually why there isn't more purchasers of blood.

My guess would be that there are government regulations restricting who can buy and sell blood (though I don't think the red cross sells it).

But I don't know for sure.
According to the American Red Cross website:

The American Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that supplies almost half of the nation's blood supply by working with more than 4 million donors and 3,000 hospitals. We rely on the generous gifts volunteer blood donors provide us. In order for the Red Cross to make that gift available to patients in need, we must collect, store, test and process the blood. There are significant costs associated with each of these processes, and in order for us to continue making one person's donation available to someone else who needs it, we must charge for the testing and processing of the blood to recoup these costs.

In other words, they sell it. You might like this explanation for limiting the blood supply as well:

Scientific data shows that people who donate blood for altruistic reasons are the safest blood donors. As an extra layer of safety to the blood supply, Red Cross accepts only volunteer blood donors.

In other words they don't want to pay.

They're pretty close to monopoly share. Where's the DOJ when you need them??
Why is it illegal for me to sell one of my kidneys? Or to sell the rights to my organs if I die in an accident?

What is the fixation with physical parts? I can sell my ideas, my effort, my time, but not my physical body.

Interesting point: all the arguments against a market for organs apply equally to a paid volunteer army (exploitation of the poor, being paid for the chance you might die, making irrational decisions, etc.), but we indeed have a paid volunteer army. What gives?
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