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  • Mathieu Provencher

Selling someone else's body parts

Hi Guys! Today I heard about a book from Scott Carney that describes what he calls "The Red Market". You guys might be familiar with the black market, which usually broadly refers to informal (and sometimes illegal) operations. Well, this one follows the same basic idea... except that this market is made up of the demand and supply of body parts!!!!! Remember that Economics is Amoral (and not necessarily immoral, that's different), we're just looking at how it works, not if it's good or bad.

SO!!!!! We are talking about selling and buying of organs, eggs (not from chicken, thank you), sperm, hair, and even skin and blood. These markets, since they mostly work informally, bring things like organ thievery, hormones overdosing (not fatal at first but I was told it could be in the long run), and blood slavery.

There is clearly a demand for these "products" since more people have access to modern medicine, that can now treat a wide range of problems. However, the supply can be quite low in different parts of the world (India is pretty bad I heard). This brings a nice opportunity for people that can put their morals on the side in order to "exploit" these needed resources. It is ironical that people get hurt in order for other people to be healed... with the middle man making a big profit. The Markets will Always find a way!!!!

I heard that blood donors can sell their blood in Spain. That apparently lead to some people travelling to Spain in order to be blood donors, to make some money of course. However, there seemed to have been an exploitative "blood slavery" trade developing around that same idea... except that they don't pay the ones giving the blood. On top of all of that, there can be low controls on the quality of that blood, which means you can get nasty little things by using it. As you may imagine, the price-elasticity of demand for blood is very low when your life depends on it... the price people pay for blood includes money but also risk! Remember guys, Economics is NOT about money, the costs of a product can be made of many things.

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