Kidney Blogging Cont'd
by Virginia Postrel • Feb 25, 2007 at 7:18 pm
Amitai Etzioni, whose public persona is unmatched in its combination of self-righteousness and self-promotion, writes to the NYTBR to take issue with my review of Kieran Healy's Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the Market for Human Blood and Organs:
While I appreciate being referred to as "renowned" (if only), Etzioni's letter beautifully illustrates Healy's point: that the debate over organs (and blood, which I didn't have room to discuss) unnecessarily and inaccurately posits a sharp split between market exchange and social and cultural commitments. Although Etzioni wants to box me in as a "market zealot," that's an absurdly--and deliberately--reductionist view of my thought on this issue and many others. The letter also demonstrates that Etzioni is not a particularly careful reader or at least isn't interested in the hard empirical facts of the kidney crisis. Rising to the bait, I sent him the following email:
That last line is pretty snarky, especially since I'm well aware that Etzioni is too old to be an organ donor. But, like many other people, he treats kidney donation as an inconceivable risk to one's health and the idea of taking money for it as therefore inherently exploitative. Hence it's worth pointing out that I'm not advocating paying people for something I wasn't willing to do for free.
His response is telling, since it contradicts his anti-market propaganda in the Times.
So why, other than self-promotion, did he bother spilling ink in the Timees and defaming the idea of any incentives for organs? I suspect that the question answers itself.
On a more positive note, it looks like House will vote on Tuesday to pass the Living Organ Kidney Donation Clarification Act, which I blogged about here. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jay Inslee and the late Rep. Charlie Norwood, will make it clear that "paired donations" are legal. Let's hope the Senate follows suit right away.
Comment on this item
Buy Virginia's Books
Copyright 2013 Virginia Postrel. All commercial rights reserved.