Re: organ donation

From: jeff davis (
Date: Fri Feb 22 2002 - 17:10:40 MST

--- Philip Howison <> wrote:
> Would it not be more extropian to encourage trade in
> human organs?

This is my view. Your life, and body, and organs
BELONG to you, and you ought to be able to do with
them as you please. The folks who disagree, however,
are the ones in control, with legal constructs to
codify and institutional mechanisms to enforce their
view. Basically, it's just a carry-over of the
ancient habit of state ownership, belief in ownership,
and belief in the legitamacy of ownership of the
individual. The emperor, the czar, the sovereign vs
the slave, the serf, the subject. Your ass is theirs.

This view has by no means disappeared, but I think it
fair to say that it has eroded quite a bit, perhaps
even to some critical point.

If everyone's organs were recognized as items of value
personally owned, then--in what I view as the least
ethically controversial situation of a range of
possible situations--the organs of a person who has
died innocently, would simply be an asset of their
estate. (There is of course a whole anthology of
goulish possibilities where people--prisoners,
children, clones, the poor, etc--are carved up for fun
or profit,...but for now I'd like to leave that to
some later discussion of scary campfire stories and
similar human narrative entertainment practices.)


> It would be difficult
> to effectively police the trade...

I don't know that I agree. This feels to me like a
widely held fear that has risen to the level of a
widely held presumption. Medicine is so very highly
regulated that it might be vastly more difficult and
way less profitable to pursue outside of regulatory
oversight. I would ask if the problem, insofar as we
have seen the first small examples of it, stems from
the current black and grey market status of organ
commercialization. If it were widely accepted, with
standardized practices, might the abuse practices
wither and disappear?

Best, Jeff Davis

 "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
                       Ray Charles

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