The government sent me a nice, glossy advertisement telling me that it would sure be swell if I signed up to donate my organs when I die. Apparently there is a tragically short supply of organs and many people who need transplants are on waiting lists to get them.
Since shortages are only caused by government price controls, it seems a little strange for the government to ask me fix the problem. All they need to do is remove the price control and the free market will provide all the organs people want.
In this case, the government sets the legal price of organs at zero dollars. The only people who are supplying them are those who are willing to give them away for free.
According to organdonor.gov, each day about 77 people receive organ transplants. However, 19 people die each day waiting for transplants that can’t take place because of the shortage of donated organs. The first thing that occurs to me is that the government kills 19 people each day with their price control on organs. The second thing is that such a large number of people are getting their organs for free. It seems likely that the remaining gap would be easily surmountable with a little bit of freedom.
There are probably a few people who would be willing to sell an extra kidney for a hundred thousand dollars. I imagine there are even more would do it for a million. The market price for organs might even be lower than the cost of all the government mailings encouraging people to be organ donors.
Whose organs are they anyway? If I want to sell my hair, or fingers or parts of my liver or skin to someone what’s wrong with that? It doesn’t hurt anyone — it helps them! It could even save their life. Even if you don’t believe that people own their own bodies, why would you object to the following scenario?
A farmer lives by himself on his farm, but one year a drought hurts his finances. He is going to lose his farm. His neighbor is dying from kidney failure. He sells one of his kidneys to his neighbor. His neighbor recovers and gets to live a healthy life again. The farmer is able to save his farm. Everybody wins.
How many of these happy endings has the government ruined?