Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another Win for Singapore

Singapore's parliament has passed a law allowing payments to organ donors (found on William Saletan's blog). But don't get too excited.
The new legislation will bring Singapore in line with similar practices in the United States and Britain where donors are financially compensated, according to Khaw.
Apparently all this law does is make it legal to pay a donor's medical expenses--nothing more. The U.S. and other countries have similar laws. Saletan suggests that what is interesting here is the argument being used to pass the law--that denying payment to donors is unfair to them. He thinks that this argument might be used to persuade people to accept even more substantial payments to donors (which economists usually support on the grounds that it would result in a greater supply of organs, helping more people in need).

I don't think that's necessarily the case. I suspect that most people will say that fairness says donors get compensated for their costs, and nothing more. People are uncomfortable with the idea of profiting from the sale of one's organs.