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Duncker & Humblot




The proposed solutions to my hair supply hypothetical, transfer of property and reliance on altruism, are essentially the only two solutions formally adopted in response to the real world "organ supply" problem.' Because of the shortcomings of these solutions, a number of commentators, myself among them, 2 have suggested the allowance of some limited commerce in body parts. This solution can be seen as a compromise between the extremes of transferring property rights and relying entirely on altruism. Property rights are maintained under the market system because anyone who wants the body part of another must gain the consent of the owner. Yet it is likely to be considerably more effective at increasing the supply of body parts than a system, such as the one currently observed in the United States, which relies entirely on the altruism of donors.

In response to the market solutions proposed in recent years, 3 a number of commentators have raised moral objections to the notion of commerce in body parts. For example, two recent articles, one by Leon Kass,4 and the other by Stephen Munzer, 5 have presented various Kantian arguments against a market in body parts. 6 So far as I am aware, no economist has responded directly to this literature. 7 I intend to do so here


In Symposium on Bioethics and the Law.

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