Thursday, September 6, 2012

Capitalism has no respect for human life

This is a gruesome story one almost hates to relate; one almost can’t believe it’s real: due to poverty this 51 year-old Nepalese man, Mr. Man Bahadur Tamang, sold his kidney for US $727 to a clinic in India. Surely there are more ethical solutions for patients with organ failure than commodifying the human organs of the poor!? Studies may show that health risks for organ donors are negligible but who paid for the studies? Were they done in affluent countries with well-fed donors? Did those studies include the desperate poor donors who lack clean water, decent food, proper health & after care? Is there even a single study on long-term effects of organ donation in any country? In the US, the number of people in need of organ transplants has tripled in the past decade, now topping over 100,000. The average wait time for a kidney is 10 years. Despite the driver’s license campaigns, the number of deceased organ donors hovers between 5,000 & 8,000 per year. Black market trading in human organs is big business in violation of national laws (but when in the hell did a law ever stand in the way of profiteering?). More importantly, when did profiteering overcome cultural & religious sanctions against body dismemberment? Research in several countries proves that trading in human organs is along class, gender, & racial lines--organs flow from poor to rich, from women to men & from brown & black to white skinned people. And most importantly (at least medically), has anyone asked why human organ failure is such a significant problem in western society? Is it as significant in poor countries? Are there dietary & environmental implications? Or is it just more profitable to convince desperately poor human beings to part with their internal organs for chump change? And you ask why we hate capitalism!!! (Photo by Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters)

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