The organ trade

The NYTimes tracks a kidney from Brazil to Brooklyn, via a transplant center in South Africa, brokered by agents in Israel. Ain’t globalization grand?

The kidney was sold for $6000 by a poor Brazilian to be transplanted into what is, by world standards, a rich American. I understand, of course, that this trade is upsetting to many people. The trade is illegal and the Brazilian and South African government have made arrests – sadly, including some of the organ donors. I am upset too, but less by the trade than by the grinding poverty that make the ability to sell an organ an opportunity.

Think of it this way: It is a tragedy that the poor of many third-world countries must scavenge in garbage dumps for survival but it is no solution to fence in the garbage dumps.


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