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The state applauds itself for solving 0.3% of a problem

June 24th, 2009 Posted in Economics by

kidneyVicki Chapman, of the Human Tissues Authority (a taxpayer-funded health quango), is falling over herself to proclaim the dazzling success of altruistic live organ donation.

Apparently, a total of 25 brave people have offered to donate a spare kidney to a stranger. The number of volunteers in year one was ten. In year two, it was fifteen. Ms. Chapham “did not expect to see the number rise so significantly after just one year”. (From practically zilch, to a little bit more)

These twenty-five donations will reduce the number of people in the UK in need of a kidney from 7,000 to 6,975.

Hardly” job done”, is it?

Assuming that there isn’t about to be a 3000 % nationwide rise in altruism, does anyone have a credible plan to properly tackle this problem?

Clue: if it’s legal to give something away, it should be legal to sell it.

2 Responses to “The state applauds itself for solving 0.3% of a problem”

  1. tim leunig Says:

    I recollect that there is a good chapter in freakonomics on how to use altruism more successfully. In the simultaneous transplant model I offer a kidney to you, your brother offers it to Mrs X, whose husband offers it to my sister, thus completing a triangle – or longer chain – of donations. Apparently it can work.

    I lost a friend last year for want of a kidney. If legalising sales would bring him back then yes, I am for it. We all have two of them after all, and losing a kidney is not that dangerous.

    Apparently you can buy them from Chinese prisons. But there must be a fear that prisoners are killed to order. Ken was not willing to go down that route.

  2. Neil Craig Says:

    Presumably they feel it would not go down well if they mentioned the 1,300 Serbs, dissected while still alive, by NATO forces to provide body organs.

    I assume the “LibDems” also feel that most people would not be happy to know the sort of racist obscenities your party are involved in.