"One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure": Exploring Economic and Moral Subtexts of the "Organ Shortage" Problem in Public Views on Organ Donation
Journal of Medical Ethics 2009 August; 35(8): 473-476
The debate over financial incentives and market models for organ procurement represents a key trend in recent bioethics. In this paper, we wish to reassess one of its central premises-the idea of organ shortage. While the problem is often presented as an objective statistical fact that can be taken for granted, we will take a closer look at the underlying framework expressed in the common rhetoric of "scarcity", "shortage" or "unfulfilled demand". On the basis of theoretical considerations as well as a socioempirical examination of public attitudes, we will argue that this rhetoric has an economic subtext that imbues the debate with normative premises that have far-reaching social and ethical consequences and need to be made explicit and discussed.
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