Monopsony markets in everything

by on December 30, 2010 at 10:28 pm in Economics, Law, Medicine | Permalink

Two Mississippi sisters serving double life sentences for their roles in an $11 armed robbery will be released, but only on the condition that the younger sibling donate her kidney to her sister, whose organs are failing, state officials said Thursday.

Here is much more.

Dave Barnes December 30, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Oh, so wrong, you headline is.
Not "Monopsony", Monopoly.
One seller. The STATE.
Mississippi is "selling" the pardon/commutation and imposing conditions.
I find this reprehensible and fatboy (aka the governor of MS) should have his kidney ripped out. Only one kidney though.

Six Ounces December 30, 2010 at 9:13 pm

The bizarre part is the NAACP praising Barbour for releasing the felons. The only evidence of "justice" the NAACP accepts is a guilty black person going free.

Some have said the deal violates federal law about beneficial consideration for organ donation. I suppose it's all in how the deal was done. If one sister needs a kidney and will be in poor medical condition in jail, releasing her on humanitarian grounds makes sense. When the other sister gives up a kidney, she's in the same boat.

I'm sure Barbour considered every aspect of the case including their conduct in prison, their health, and the cost to society. I doubt he did it for personal reasons. There have been worse pardons and commutations.

Dick King December 30, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Rahul, according to the article it was an $11 ARMED robbery.

I don't know all the facts, but the weapon is unlikely to have been a Nerf ball. Perhaps they stuck a gun in someone's face but the victoms didn't have much cash on them? Please explain how that mitigates the crime?

-dk

Rahul December 31, 2010 at 12:06 am

@Dick King:

I still don't think a double life sentence is fair punishment for someone why tried to rob me with a gun. But maybe I am more lax than the average.

Andrew December 31, 2010 at 2:24 am

As for the organ sale, the state finds ways to do things they would threaten to kill the rest of us for doing.

Mike Huben December 31, 2010 at 3:25 am

I'm somewhat surprised that other commenters don't simply list the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_sisters.

I'd love to see an explanation of how this is any sort of market.

I really don't know why libertarians have anything to oppose here. Granted the sisters may have committed a prime against property, which in the mind of libertarians would condemn them for eternity, but:

* there is a lessening of incarceration costs for the state
* there is a lessening of medical costs for the state
* the proposal is not inflicted by the state: it was suggested by the sisters
* the proposal is a suspension of the sentence, which still serves justice and protects the public if they commit further crimes
* the proposal may undo a significant racist/sexist/procedural/conspiratorial injustice
* the proposal is humane

The basic problem, as I see it, is that libertarians have no corrections philosophy. Most are stopped at "retaliation for coercion", not thinking beyond bullets. While they may believe in private prisons, they have no philosophy for sentencing. They will go along with "the convicted have fewer rights", but they have no explanation of why or which. Liberalism has extensive philosophies which have been applied for decades or centuries, but libertarians have conspicuous voids for the hard questions.

J December 31, 2010 at 6:36 am

"A double life sentence for a $11 robbery?"

It was armed robbery. The amount taken is immaterial.

"the proposal may undo a significant racist/sexist/procedural/conspiratorial injustice"

I don't see where this matters in your specific argument; if they're innocent, they should be released unconditionally.

spencer December 31, 2010 at 8:09 am

The guys that actually did the robbery and had the gun got two years.

J January 1, 2011 at 5:53 pm

"I don't believe the sisters were accused of actually holding the gun"

If you participated in an armed robbery, you committed armed robbery. As with the amount taken, who actually held the gun appears to be immaterial under MS law.

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