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Choice, pressure and markets in kidneys


We do not always benefit from the expansion of our choice sets. This is because some options change the context in which we must make decisions in ways that render us worse off than we would have been otherwise. One promising argument against paid living kidney donation holds that having the option of selling a ‘spare’ kidney would impact people facing financial pressures in precisely this way. I defend this argument from two related criticisms: first, that having the option to sell one’s kidney would only be harmful if one is pressured or coerced to take this specific course of action; and second, that such forms of pressure are unlikely to feature in a legal market.

  • donation/procurement of organs/tissues
  • kidneys
  • philosophical ethics
  • public policy

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