Use the following steps to write a Thought Essay
- Complete the readings
- While you read, make a note of ideas that stand-out to you, or ideas that you feel are incomplete
- Think about those ideas using economic theories
- Write a 500 word essay with a clear introduction, middle and conclusion on your ideas
- You can include any other research to augment your reading and your writing
- Make sure you cite appropriately.
(Please use these theories to analyze situations that you observe outside. )
An Example Thought Essay:
The Costs and Benefits of an Organ Market
The organ shortage has become a serious national problem over the years. Medical technology has improved creating a potential to save more lives, however, that hasn’t been the case. The current policy is failing, creating an organ shortage that leads to the death of thousands of American every year. We have to create a better policy since our current one is clearly inefficient and costly. We also need to provide incentives to attract more people to donate and save lives. Furthermore, we have to finally legalize and strictly regulate the market for organs.
First, the current policy is clearly inefficient and costly. There are over 100,000 Americans on the waitlist for organs, but only a fraction of available organs. The average wait time for an organ is 3.5 years, causing people to become sicker and more desperate. It also prolongs the dependence on dialysis, which costs an average of $89,000 per person per year, with the US government spending 35 billion annually to cover the Medicare costs with the number expected to grow over the next few years. That is a large portion of the GDP, more than the annual foreign government aid in-fact. A kidney transplant costs about $250,000 and has further care cost but is more effective and can last a long time. Getting a transplant saves a significant amount and is the better option. Also, the current policy has led to a thriving black market for desperate patients leading to exploitation of the poor in third world countries. This shows that people will find a way to cheat the system, even if it’s morally wrong. The system is creating a shortage of organs, causing thousands of people to die each year which translates into the loss of potential income tax earnings for the Government in millions of dollars each year.
Furthermore, by making the market for organs illegal, the Government has put in a price ceiling that is below equilibrium leading to less people willing to supply the organs and causing a shortage. The demand for organs is high, while the supply remains low. In a free market system, the supply and demand would meet at the equilibrium price, and there would be no shortage. If there was a price on organs, the ethical dilemma is that poor people would donate their organ for money, leaving the wealthy better off and them worse off. However, every class is affected. The current system might not be hurting the poor, but it’s not helping anyone either. Having a legal market would get rid of the shortage by increasing the supply of organs.
Also, the policy doesn’t give people incentives to give their organ. The truth is, people respond to incentives and we must create incentives for people to donate. The argument is that we can’t put a price on human parts, that it’s immoral. However, is it okay to let so many people die that could have been saved if given an incentive? We have to weigh the cost and benefits. Scientifically speaking, a person can work perfectly on one kidney. So, if someone is willing and able to donate a kidney for a financial or other incentive, why should we stop them if it saves another life? Providing a good incentive can help everyone. For example, Iran is the only country that has legalized the organ market and it’s run by the government. They function successfully and even have a waiting list of available donors! This shows that a government run market might just be the solution to end the organ shortage.
To save lives we have to finally legalize and tightly regulate the market for organs. The US government should run and regulate the market to make sure it’s fair. An open market in a capitalist society leads to competition and better prices, but businesses will put their own interests above the patients. The government running the market gives security to the patients. It will put an end to the waitlist and save more lives. The Iran example proves that a Government run market can indeed be very successful. We should study and follow their model to improve our situation.
So, we have an inefficient and costly system in place that doesn’t provide incentives for suppliers causing an epidemic of organ shortage. We should replace the current system with a legal organ market that is run and thoroughly controlled by the US government. Considering the many ethical dilemmas we face, the solution isn’t going to be simple or easy. However, continuing on this way isn’t the answer. While the proposed solution raises concerns, it’s a logical solution that needs be seriously considered. (766)
Clay, Megan, and Walter Block. “A Free Market for Human Organs.” The International Trafficking of Human Organs Advances in Police Theory and Practice, 2011, pp. 49–58. https://search.proquest.com/docview /216808688?accountid=10361&rfr_id=info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo (Links to an external site.)
Novelli, G., et al. “Is Legalizing the Organ Market Possible?” Transplantation Proceedings, vol. 39, no. 6, 2007, pp.1743–1745. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0041134 50700654 9 (Links to an external site.)
Larijani, B, et al. “Ethical and Legal Aspects of Organ Transplantation in Iran.” Transplantation Proceedings, vol. 36, no. 5, 2004, pp. 1241–1244. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S00411345040 05974
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